Finn Russell I love items, because they are smart!
If the earthquake doesn’t rattle at least 5.5 on the Richter scale, don’t expect anyone to so much as put their coffee down, my Chief of Terror explained, with a glint in his eye and a typically warm smile on his face as he soaked up my instinctive eyebrow-raise.
Jet-lagged and a little weary, I was then jabbed with a carrot-and-stick combination.
The typhoon season concludes at the end of September, I was reliably informed, but, on average, there are nine more storms to ride out before the Japanese public can get some peace of mind from these turbulent weather cycles.
Disaster may loom all around in Japan, but in the vastness of a bustling metropolis the size of Tokyo, most people are just busy getting on with things.
In a similar vein, you could easily be living your daily life in the world’s largest city and still be somewhat oblivious to the fact that the 2019 Rugby World Cup has already got its opening-night nerves out of the way.
This is my second time in Japan, having played in Tokyo and Osaka on a two-Test Ireland tour to the Land of the Rising Sun in 2005.
So, to some extent, I knew what to expect this week. But, in terms of a Rugby World Cup, and this is my third tournament as a pundit, equalling my tally as a player, it is other-worldly from Europe and Australasia. The sights, the sounds, the smells.
International Rugby Newsletter
This buzz is different, but in a good way.
Ireland’s players might still be adjusting to these quirky, futuristic surroundings but the sight of a Gregor Townsend-coached Scottish side on the other side of halfway should help them feel right at home.
It may be new territory for many of this Irish squad but there is nothing unfamiliar about the opening challenge that awaits them.
The blueprint must remain the same; dictate terms by bullying them up front. Suck the life out of the Scottish will to throw the ball around by starving them of possession, and stay connected in defence when they do get a chance to
These add-ons are quite awesome!!
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