Joe Schmidt says he is confident that Ireland will be "tough to beat" with just two days to go until their opening World Cup clash against Scotland.

Yokohama hosts the Pool A clash on Sunday morning (8.45am) and after naming a team without Rob Kearney or Keith Earls, Schmidt was quick to turn his attention towards the Scots and predicted a close contest.

"You've got to hope [that we are yet to peak], I can’t guarantee anything. In 48 hours’ time we’ll have a better idea," he said.

"We’ll be just arriving at the stadium and getting ready to warm up.

"I’ll be anxious because you never quite know [how it will go].

"One thing that I would be confident of is that we will be tough to beat.

"You’ll see a collective effort and that effort will make us tough to beat.

"I’ve no doubts the Scots are working away and going to make sure that they’ll be something similar.

"I don’t think there’s a huge amount between the teams so whoever does get the bounce of the ball or can be that little bit more efficient than the other may just tip the balance."


Asked about which team would fare better should the game be played in very wet conditions, Schmidt said: "It’s interesting, you just have to adapt to the conditions, they will adapt as well.

"If Greig Laidlaw is at scrum-half, he’s a very proficient kicker, he’s a very effective goal-kicker as well.

"When it does rain, points become just that little bit more valuable because they are harder to get because it’s harder to sustain continuity of play. Therefore, Greig Laidlaw could be very useful for them.

LAIDLAW GETS THE NOD AS SCOTS NAME TEAM

"We know Finn Russell has a huge variety of a kicking game, he will be a threat, and Stuart Hogg has a long kicking game.

"In the end if you mix that up with us, with the likes of Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton, I don’t think there’s too much between the teams, wet or dry.

"[I] haven’t see the surface since we looked here some months ago, whatever the surface is we’ll have to cope with.

"If it has been chewed up by [tomorrow’s game between the] All Blacks and the Springboks, it’s a pretty big game, they are pretty big men running around.

"One of the things that has impressed me is how quickly the [groundstaff] turned it around, a manicured surface,

"The surface was good here when we [in Japan] in the summer 2017, we'd anticipate a good surface even if it is a little bit wet."

Jordan Larmour starts at full-back

With games against hosts Japan, Russia and Samoa still to come, this game is seen as a pool decider.

The winner will meet the second placed team in Pool B, likely to be either South Africa or New Zealand.

"I’ve short sleeves, there’s not too much up my sleeves," said Schmidt about what tricks he had been holding back for this occasion.

"There are certainly things that you do hold back a bit. I’ve no doubt we’ll see something from Scotland that we haven’t seen before.

"We’ve been planning this for a long time. When you get the opportunity to put it into practice it still has to be put into practice accurately and one of the things that gets in the way of that is the amount of pressure the opposition puts on you.

"I’ve no doubt both teams will be trying to put pressure on each other so whatever they have got planned isn’t quite as effective as they’d hoped."

Ireland: Jordan Larmour; Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong; James Ryan, Iain Henderson; Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath, Jack Carty, Chris Farrell

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