Sean McMahon reporting from Hamamatsu.
Ireland coach Greg Feek has rejected the criticism coming from the Japanese camp on his side’s scrum as the two teams prepare for battle on the eve of their clash at the Shizouka Stadium Ecopa.
One the narratives which has dominated proceedings throughout the week has been the criticism of the Irish scrum with Japan head coach Jamie Joseph stating that, at times, Ireland perform the setpiece illegally.
This all began with a comment from young Brave Blossoms tighthead Yusuke Kizu when he stated that Cian Healy likes to take a step out when he engages.
This setpiece battle will certainly be interesting on Saturday but Feek, who of course coaches the Irish scrum, batted away the criticism and stated that Ireland are one of the most disciplined sides in the world.
“That (scrum comment) was one of the younger players in the squad and it can be daunting coming out to do media,” Feek said. “And we’ve all been in that position where sometimes you say things.
“But for us, we pride ourselves as a team, and it’s something that Joe (Schmidt) has driven as one of our mantras right from the start with Ireland is to be the most disciplined team in world rugby.
“And to be fair to the players, after working with them for so long, how they go about their business in terms of their discipline is world-class.
“Some of our discipline, I would say in the last 20 years you wouldn’t see a team that’s so hard on their discipline.
“There’s always going to be the odd occasion where two front-rows might not agree on things, or the referee might not get it right, but that’s all part of the game.
“And the media as well, you might read stuff, yes, but in this type of competition you just have to be focused on our systems, our processes and backing our players to do the thing that they are most used to doing, and that’s being disciplined rugby players.”