Scotland head coach Vern Cotter believes Japan only showed 80 per cent of their capabilities against the Springboks and lock Grant Gilchrist warned that even if Scotland knew exactly what was contained in Jones’ game-plan, that might not be enough to save his side. However despite being competitive in the first half, the Japanese exhausted as Scotland ran in five second half tries.
However, Japan coach Eddie Jones refused to admit the Springbok game and the short turn around took too much out of them today.
The 1995 and 2007 RWC champions were left stunned as Japan scored a try at the death to snatch a 34-32 win at the Brighton Community Centre, England, in their opening game of Pool B.
“They slowed our ball down to a large degree, which made it hard for us to get any momentum”.
Two early penalties from skipper Laidlaw provided a ideal start but for a brief first half moment Scotland found themselves behind. Yet we have guys like Fourie Du Preez who play in Japan.
The Stormers confirmed the agreement with Jones just 48 hours before Japan’s pivotal World Cup meeting with Scotland in Gloucester later tonight. “In the end, we did not win it and it does not matter how many tries you score”, he explained.
They had 12 brutal phases trying to burrow over before spreading the ball wide.
“Credit to Japan though, they were awesome against South Africa and really tough opponents again today”. They said if they were in game at halftime they could take us, so we were determined and outstanding. “If we’re in the game at half-time, we’ll run them off their feet”.
“We’re not done – we’re here to make the quarter-finals”, he said.
Kingsholm is Laidlaw’s usual stomping ground for club side Gloucester and he delivered on his return, being awarded man of the match for his points haul and the constant prodding and probing of the Japanese line.
The Australian, who will leave the Japan post after the World Cup for South African Super Rugby franchise Western Stormers, said “significant” pressure is now on Scotland because they are “one of the most established rugby countries in the world”.
Rutland initially only planned to cycle through Africa, but then realised he could combine his audacious adventure with a trip to Europe, ending at the World Cup.
“But it didn’t really teach us anything, it simply reinforced what we already knew”.