Rugby World Cup 2015: Scotland braced for Japan - Taylor

By Phil GoodladBBC Scotland
Scotland's Stuart Hogg receives the ball at training
Scotland's Stuart Hogg receives the ball at training
Rugby World Cup: Scotland v Japan
Venue: Kingsholm, Gloucester Date: 23 September Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Scotland are fully prepared for their World Cup Pool B opener against Japan, claims assistant coach Matt Taylor.

Japan have been buoyed by their shock 34-32 win over South Africa at the weekend, but defence coach Taylor is confident ahead of Wednesday's game.

"We've been focused on this match for a couple of years but over the last six to eight weeks we've put in a lot of work on Japan," said Taylor.

"They've got dangers all across the park [but] we're ready for this."

Taylor attended Japan's win against the two-time world champions, which was the Asian champions' first victory at a World Cup since 1991.

He admitted that Scotland are "going to have to concentrate for the whole game" and praised the Brave Blossoms' scrum.

The Australia-born coach added: "When we look right across their backline - nine, 10, 14, 15 - they are exceptional players and our guys know that. We will have to be at the top of our game defensively.

"But we are confident we can do that job. We have prepared exceptionally well.

"We understand some of their patterns but we won't be sitting there watching them play. We'll be going at them defensively."

Scotland head coach Vern Cotter and assistant coach Matt Taylor watch the players train in Gloucester
Scotland head coach Vern Cotter and assistant coach Matt Taylor watch the players train in Gloucester

Japan head coach Eddie Jones, who is leaving his post after the tournament to take charge of Cape Town-based Stormers, thinks his team can punish Scotland with their fitness late in the match.

But Taylor, refusing to be drawn, believes "everyone has opinions on how games go".

"We'll be concentrating on making sure we're ahead at the 80th minute," he said.

South Africa were expected to dominate Japan at the set-piece but were caught out as Japan held their own.

However, Scotland prop Willem Nel believes there are weaknesses Scotland can exploit.

"If you closely watch the game, Japan were under pressure in the scrum as well," he claimed. "I don't think they had the upper-hand all the time.

"We've had a close look at their scrums and we know what they are doing. I think they know what we are doing so it's going be a nice battle out there tomorrow."

More from rugby:
Hogg returns for Scotland's World Cup opener
Scots not surprised by Japan - Duncan Weir