Japan move above Scotland in World Rugby rankings

Three of the 31-man Scotland squad have strong links to East Kilbride and we have the thoughts of Al Strokosch, Richie Gray and Jonny Gray ahead of the big kick-off.


“We just need to focus on ourselves”. They have got a tough group, but if they come through that it is just a one-off game where it can comes down to one decision that could decide their fate.

“We’ve got to be aware of that and make sure we’re not treating them as that at all. They play a physical game and we can’t take either game lightly”.

Josh Strauss, born at Belville, Western Cape, and a product of Stellenbosch University who only qualified as a Scot on Sunday, will get his first cap, coming off the bench some time at Kingsholm while Willem Nel, from Loeriesfontein, a veteran of three Tests after qualifying last month, will start as tighthead prop.

Scotland open their World Cup campaign against a side getting four days rest after their famous victory but Cotter thinks Japan will be in good shape.

He did not think the match or its result changes anything about the Scotland game.

Scotland and Samoa will be battling i tout for second place, but Japan and US are both developing as Rugby nations and could produce a scare or two.

“South Africa weren’t as accurate as they’d have wanted to be, but Japan certainly didn’t surprise me”.

Under Vern Cotter they are extremely well drilled but in the Six Nations this was their downfall as they were quickly worked out and struggled to implement a plan B. Russell was one player to come out of the tournament with a lot of credit and it is important he controls the tempo for the Scots if they are to beat the risky Samoans and survive this tricky group.

If Scotland do win all their games, including against South Africa in Newcastle on October 3, then that pitches them against the runner-ups from Pool A (probably either England or Australia, now that Wales have lost their points machine in Leigh Halfpenny) in the quarters before New Zealand lurk in the semis.

“If the players aren’t excited after Saturday that would be a problem, they are excited”. Much like Fiji, they tackle hard, and have excellent ball skills, and will match anyone physically, including the South Africans.

“I was five-years-old during that tournament (RWC 1995) and I was actually living in Zimbabwe so I don’t have very vivid memories of that World Cup“, Denton said.

“If they fulfil their potential, they will do well”.

“I’m always one of the lads who is fairly hyper around camp so I’ve been speaking to the older boys to ask if I’m all right doing this or that”.


He told the News: “It was great to find out I’d made the squad because I felt I had some unfinished business after the last World Cup and how it unfolded for us, so it would be good to make up for that”.

Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter prepapres his side ahead of the Rugby World Cup