Scotland desperately needed a win after two dispiriting defeats and duly delivered with a six-try performance in an impressive win over USA at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham that clinched third spot in Pool B.
For USA, this was a disappointing end to the pool stages but the young Americans never capitulated and at times caused problems for the Scotland defence when their fast backs broke free.
Scotland stamped their intentions with an early try by Sevens cap Chris Kinloch, the wing fed by fly half Ruaridh Jackson, with excellent support work from centre Paul Loudon.
Centre Stephen McColl added the conversion but was unable to add the extra points to a try by Gary Strain, the burly prop bursting upfield from a maul before shredding the USA defence.
USA also showed fallibility as the Scottish-sounding Hamish Roberts was off target with his first kick.
After a change of kicker, the Americans finally gained the points they had sought with a successful penalty attempt by their Irish-American scrum half Sean Treacy.
A second kick at goal by Treacy rebounded off the uprights before Roberts resumed kicking duties to add a penalty goal and narrow Scotland’s lead to six points at the break.
Having been off target with a penalty kick before the interval, McColl made amends after the restart with a penalty goal and the conversion of his own try to give Scotland a handy 22-6 break.
But USA hit back with a second penalty from Treacy and a try from close range by number 8 Taylor Mokake.
Thereafter, however, Scotland took charge, finishing strongly as hooker Adrian Duncan burrowed over, before McColl sent man-of-the-match Loudon in for a try.
McColl converted and finished a good game by supplying the pass for Kinloch to score his second try and seal a fine win for Scotland.
Scotland coach Colin Robertson: “We desperately needed to win and duly delivered. We scored six tries today and it’s not often that Scottish teams achieve that. I’m proud of the way the boys bounced back after the South Africa game. That says a lot about this group of players. We’re now looking to win our remaining games.”
Scotland centre Paul Loudon: “There was a lot of frustration after losing to Samoa but today the guys got back on their feet.”
USA coach Salty Thompson: “We’re trying to raise the standard of USA rugby and I think we’ve achieved a lot. Scotland took advantage of turnovers. We couldn’t break their defence.”
USA fly half Hamish Roberts: “We had expectations but they were too strong.”