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Rugby Ireland v Scotland
One of Ireland’s training sessions was briefly interrupted earlier this week when smoke started issuing from a building next to their pitch in Chiba. It turned out to be a fire station doing practice drills. A false alarm.
It is Ireland who need to catch fire now. Joe Schmidt admitted as much on Friday, stressing that his team had to “hit the ground running” at this World Cup as he named his strongest available team to face Scotland in their Pool A opener at Yokohama International Stadium on Sunday.
Schmidt was talking about the differences between this campaign and Ireland’s last one four years ago, and the lessons he learned.
“It’s so different because we didn’t start with the same level of match last time,” the New Zealander said. “And that’s no disrespect to Canada. But they weren’t a big Tier 1 opponent where the players know each other really well. I think that familiarity makes us a little nervous, and probably makes Scotland a little nervous.
“This time we definitely have to hit the ground running. This is the equivale
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