Not that Ireland haven’t enough to be getting on with, but there was little evidence in Scotland’s 34-0 defeat of Samoa in Kobe today that Gregor Townsend’s men are ready to rain on Japan’s World Cup parade come their decisive Pool A clash at the World Cup on Sunday October 13th.
TOKYO — It has been decidedly low-key this week in and around the Scotland team base in the opulent Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa in the Shinagawa area of Tokyo. Not in a bad way. It just feels like after nearly three months of training camps and ever-increasing hype, there is nothing left to say or do — it is now time to get into the action. And while they might not be shouting it from the rooftops, there is definitely a deep-rooted sense of belief within the group that tomorrow’s World Cup opener against Ireland is a match they can win.
Having established that today’s summer showdown at Twickenham is about as far removed from a “warm-up” as a summer showdown can be, both the English and Irish camps have also made clear that this is a Test match that dare not be treated in isolation of the bigger picture.
Mauricio Pochettino maintains Tottenham’s priorities lie elsewhere but after suffering a second cup exit in four days, and weighed down by injuries to key players, the manager must confront mounting concerns the north London club’s season is in danger of unravelling.
You don’t have to be an incurable optimist to support Scotland but it helps. Year upon year of sky-high hopes being dashed when reality hit home could make even the most fervent fan start to wonder if that gleam they see in the distance is the light at the end of the tunnel or just another train coming to crush their dreams.