Scotland ready to tackle Typhoon Tapah and Ireland, says Greig Laidlaw
A powerful weather system building over the East China Sea is one thing, but Joe Schmidt’s side also lie in wait for Scotland on Sunday.
Greig Laidlaw insisted Scotland will handle Typhoon Tapah before declaring the Dark Blues are primed to whip up a World Cup storm of their own.
A powerful weather system building over the East China Sea is due to strike the south west of Japan this weekend.
But its effects may also be felt as far inland as Yokohama, meaning the Scots could find themselves facing lashing rain and gale-force winds as they square off against Ireland on Sunday.
So far the forecasters have been sketchy on whether the worst of the conditions will arrive by the time the showdown at the International Stadium kicks off at 1645 local time (0845BST), but Laidlaw insists his team are braced for whatever comes their way.
He said: “We’re in the same boat as everybody in that we’re told there is a storm sitting off Japan somewhere but whether it comes in or not, (we’re not sure).
“We’ve planned that into our game plan and if the weather does come in we can flick to a system that suits that weather.
“That’s been a big part of our preparation. We’ve worked closely with the coaches to make sure we’re all happy and can adapt quickly. If the conditions change it’s certainly not going to be a surprise to us.”
The Scots are 3/1 outsiders to kick off their campaign with a win but Laidlaw says there is a wind of optimism blowing through the camp.
While Ireland are missing key men Rob Kearney, Keith Earls and Robbie Henshaw, Laidlaw is encouraged to see Scotland’s match-winners fit and on form.
“There’s an opportunity in front of us and that’s always the way I look at it,” said the Clermont Auvergne scrum-half.
“I’ve been involved in this team for a long time and the maturity of some of our players in key positions is massive.
“You speak about someone like Kearney in the Irish team being important but in our team to have guys like Finn (Russell), Hoggy (Stuart Hogg), Rambo (Stuart McInally), WP Nel, we’re starting to piece together guys with a bit of experience.
“We certainly have the drive in us. A day out from the game it’s always difficult (to say too much) because it’s all in the performance but we’re pushing hard, our standards are high and that’s all you can hope for at this stage.”
It was Laidlaw who led the team out at the 2015 World Cup but the honour has now passed to McInally.
The former captain is looking to saviour what will be his final tournament – especially after emerging as a poster boy with locals, who have swarmed ‘Mr Greig’ at every opportunity.
However, the 33-year-old believes the armband is now in good hands with McInally.
Laidalw said: “It will be my last World Cup, that’s for sure. It’s awesome to be involved but I want to be involved in a successful team and that’s what we’re here to do.
“Rambo’s been excellent. He does his leading out on the field and he’s got the full backing of the team.
“It’s been good just hearing a fresh voice, someone who is young and newer to the role. He’s going to do a fantastic job both now and in four years to come.
“It’s up to us that the leaders round about him, myself included, make sure he gets the support he needs.”