“The priority for us to ensure that we get our jobs right with accuracy, and impose ourselves on the game”.
“Hopefully we can be winning against Scotland in our next game”, Tolkin said, optimistically claiming the U.S. still had every chance of still reaching a first-ever World Cup quarter-final despite a 25-16 loss to Samoa in their opening Pool B game on Sunday.
“We expect them to be just as ferocious, just as driven and well-organised against us”.
Not a decision that went down well with in-running draw traders, I imagine, but it was at least testament to Scotland’s improved and positive mind-set.
Japan will not feel intimidated in the slightest when they bid for another notable Rugby World Cup scalp on Wednesday, following up their heroics against South Africa with a trip to Gloucester to tackle an exciting but inexperienced Scotland.
Grant Gilchrist will partner Jonny Gray in the second row while flanker Josh Strauss has been handed a place amongst the replacements having become eligible under the residency rule last week. It shows that teams are on the rise at our level of play.
And I am not ruling out that at all against an inconsistent Springbok side beaten on home soil by Argentina in the summer, not to mention by New Zealand and Australia too in that Rugby Championship, so quotes as high as 11/1 about Scotland topping the group are well worth an interest as a safety net.
“Apparently rugby’s on the news now, which is unusual”, smiled Jones “It’s usually sumo and baseball but the big guys have had to move out the way now”.
“We are gearing up for a game that will be high in intensity and it will be important to play quickly and think quickly”.
But it is arguably the weakest pool overall and they will be favourites for all the games bar South Africa, even if the handicap line in the Samoa fixture will be single-figures.
“It’s fantastic for the sport, fantastic for rugby”.
“If the players can’t get excited after Saturday I don’t know what’s going to excite them”. 51 capped Census Johnston, who plays for Toulouse, has come out of retirement and will be a bonus at scrum-time but it is something that Scotland will probably edge making that game a real forwards vs backs tussle.
In North, Wales is blessed with one of the game’s most lethal finishers, though he has had recent problems with concussions, while Sexton may well fancy himself as the world’s best fly-half. My worry, if I was Irish, would be that Sexton has looked a shadow of himself in the last two warm-up matches.