Categories: Rugby

Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt Wary Of Scottish Threats In The Rain

Sean McMahon reporting from Yokohama.

Japan are up and running in Pool A after stuttering to a bonus-point 30-10 win over Russia at the Tokyo Stadium.

Both Joe Schmidt and Gregor Townsend would have watched on from the comfort of their respective team hotels and based on what they saw over the 80 minutes, they won’t be too concerned about their sides’ chances against this opposition.

Russia produced a brave performance but their ability at this level is well below what is required. Japan, on the other hand, seemed to wilt under the pressure of being the host nation. They made numerous unforced errors and were actually troubled by Russia’s kicking game – they will need to improve immensely before they meet Ireland or Scotland.

For Schmidt and Townsend, their focus is fully on Sunday’s clash at the Yokohama Stadium. The last two days have been warm and dry in Yokohama but that looks set to change on Sunday with rain currently forecast.

How that changes the rhythm and style of the game will be interesting, as will who deals with the conditions the best.

Schmidt, speaking at Ireland’s team announcement today, believes the kicking-game will be prove a majorly important factor, especially in wet conditions and he thinks Scotland have some good weapons in the shape of Greig Laidlaw, Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell to hurt his side.

“If Greig Laidlaw’s at scrum-half, he’s a very proficient kicker and very effective goal-kicker,” Schmidt said.

“When it does rain points become just that more valuable because they are harder to get because it’s harder to sustain that continuity of play.

“Therefore Greig Laidlaw could be very useful for them, and we know Finn Russell has a huge variety of kicking game, so he will be a threat and also Stuart Hogg has a very long kicking game.

“In the end when you match that up with us, with Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton, I don’t think there’s too much between the teams.”

There are many different subplots to Sunday’s game between Ireland and Scotland, but whoever can win the aerial and kicking battle will go a long way to taking charge of Pool A.

Sean McMahon @Sean_McMahon89

Sean is Head of Pundit Arena Rugby. Contact him on Twitter here:

Share

Recent Posts

Brian Kerr Says He Is “Very Impressed” By FAI Reform Proposal

Brian Kerr has said that he has seen a proposal to reform the Football Association of Ireland and he believes… Read More

5 hours ago

Stunning Salah Goal Seals Liverpool’s Place In The Champions League Knockout Stages

Liverpool are safely through to the knockout stages of the Champions League after a 2-0 victory over Red Bull Salzburg.… Read More

8 hours ago

Preston Pull Out All The Stops As They Ramp Up Interest In Caoimhin Kelleher

Championship side Preston North End have reportedly ramped up their pursuit of signing Liverpool and Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher… Read More

12 hours ago

“The Day They Announced The Irish Squad Was The Day I Tore My ACL”

As far as professional debuts go, it's difficult to write the script for one as perfect as 20-year-old AEK Larnaca… Read More

13 hours ago

Rory McIlroy On Saudi International Refusal – ‘There’s A Morality To It’

Rory McIlroy has turned down an invitation to compete at next month's European Tour event in Saudi Arabia.  He's not… Read More

14 hours ago

Joshua Set To Avoid Both Wilder & Fury In Next Two Fights

I've got to speak to the IBF and the WBO and see who goes first. I think it sounds like… Read More

15 hours ago