We and our partners use technology, such as cookies, and gather browsing info to personalise the content and advertising and to give you the very best experience.
Please let us know whether you agree.
By Tom English
In the wake of Scotland victory over Russia, the media room at the Shizuoka Stadium morphed to a conference for meteorologists, a location where Typhoon Hagibis got a whole lot longer air-time than Hurricane Horne.
The storm raging round the western Pacific Ocean drew on more conversation compared to scrum-halfs hat-trick. When people spoke of things and intensity moving with astonishing rate they werent speaking about Scotlands forwards pack or Darcy Grahams excellencethey were on about the gathering menace thats Hagibis and the impact it may have on the terrific showdown between Scotland and Japan at Yokohama on Sunday.
Rumour was followed by rumour. Concept was followed by theory. One chap was crouched over an program that seemed to be monitoring Hagibis like one of these Santa trackers on Christmas Eve. It looks like its approaching Guam, he explained. Saipan next. Theyve announced an emergency. It was surreal.
Scotland conquer Russia 61-0 and so also were two idle forward passes away from adding the following 10 or even 14 points to this total. George Horne got three attempts but it could have been just four. Adam Hastings got two attempts but it might have been three. The youthful half-backs were excellent, but the story of the night was the confusion. Hagibis is still days away from the Japan mainland but its causing mayhem.
Nothing was being said by the Scottish management, maybe since they knew nothing because they knew something but have been sworn to silence World Rugby. Will the game go on Sunday as intended? No comment. Can it be moved to Monday? It would be wrong to speculate. Will it be moved to a different town? There are a range of contingencies. Will it be abandoned altogether thereby ensuring Scotland are out of this World Cup? Therell be an announcement Thursday.
Scotland supporters left Shizuoka in a joyous old state but for those planning to kick-on to get Yokohama this lack of clarity was challenging. There was no one around to shed any daylight on what was going on. Japan promised a World Cup and thats what weve got. Gregor Townsend spent a portion of the post-match press conference talking about this near-biblical tempest heading our way. You dont hear that kind of discussion.
On the field, Scotland got the work done with little fuss and a great deal of professionalism. They hit Russia early hit them , then kept hitting them all the way into the end. Since this was a game too much for them you felt for the underdogs. They had been out in their feet from early . Having Scotland running at them must have been torture. They didnt have the energy to push the tide.
Scotland nilled Russia just like that they nilled Samoa in Kobe. We are not talking high calibre resistance here but maintaining any competitor scoreless is a badge of honour to a professional player. Talking later, it was the nine attempts they were speaking about, it was the shut-out. That meant as much as some of the dozens that they created.
That type of thing builds self-belief, it adds momentum, it produces a positivity in the squad that they take in the Japan game if the team that plays is different to the person which beat Russia. Townsend made 14 changes and he is very likely to reverse them. Graham is very likely to be.
Townsend doesnt have significant problems in the choice of his team, but his bench might alter somewhat. Pete Horne may not have played a second of this World Cup but he was effective and may squeeze to the 23 ahead.
In case Horne makes it – covering fly-half and also centre – there may be a thought dedicated to bringing in the X-factor of all Blair Kinghorn . He has which knack of getting in behind and busting a defence, that quality although kinghorn had errors in his game against Russia.
It might indicate that Hastings loses out – barbarous if that is the case given his performance against Russia – however, Kinghorn is also flexible. He has been devastating in both positions and could play with wing and full-back. Kinghorn would be a citizen to have if Scotland are in desperate need of a try late against Japan then. The make-up of his own replacements will give him something to think about, although townsend does not have a lot to ponder in his own 23.
Horne the younger is just one of those that will return to the bench for the Japan match, but he is coming of age in this championship game. After his hat-trick he has six attempts in his nine appearances for Scotland. Thats an attempt in 66% of the Tests. Together with Glasgow, hes 22 tries in 42 matches – a try in 52% of his games, a greater percentage than anybody.
For country and club hes 28 attempts in 51 matches – an. Horne wont launch against Japan, but he remains a weapon off the bench. Hes like a truffle dog with all his ability to sniff outside chances. Time was when Scotlands creators-in-chief largely finished with Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg and began, but theres a growing humor variable in this squad.
Horne has magic in him and has Graham. Theres a really serious rugby player in the marketplace although weve not seen the very best of Kinghorn. Magnus Bradbury got some more game-time into him against Russia. Jamie Ritchie wasnt needed but hes turning into a presence in this. There appears like a changing of the protector last few weeks.
This World Cup was proposed by townsend with the depth but look whats happened. His midfield of two weeks ago has been broken up, Chris Harris. Tommy Seymour played ahead of Graham against Ireland but Graham is now undroppable.
The of late September has been Ryan Wilson, John Barclay and Hamish Watson. That is all gone. In Watsons absence through injury, its become Bradbury, Blade Thomson and Ritchie. These three have only played one game and still have it all to prove, but theyre an intriguing group capable of moving toe-to-toe with Japan, that have a row of their own.
The speculation about the match – where and if and possibly if it will happen – is going to carry on till Thursday if their call will be made by World Rugby. Lets cross our fingers and hope the rugby gods defeat this also match and also the weather gods goes in a stadium of color and noise and at the sort of atmosphere that befits what ought to be an occasion that is incredible.
Read more here: http://1788hy.tw/?p=52089