VENUE

Sunday 22 September, International Stadium, Yokohama Kick-off, 8.45am (Irish time)

ONLINE

Live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now App from 8.00am

RADIO

Live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 with Michael Corcoran and Alastair Kellock. 

TV

Live coverage on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player from 8am.

WEATHER

There were reports that a typhoon would put the game in jeopardy but the worst of the weather will miss Yokohama. Still, it is highly likely to rain. Siobhan Ryan has more. 

Are Ireland ready to hit 2018 form?

There was widespread alarm among Irish rugby fans after the record hammering in Twickenham just under a month ago. 

Coming on top of a ropy and uneven Six Nations campaign, it suggested that here was a team that had peaked a year too early and had now been thoroughly figured out by more in-form opposition.

The dark spectre of 2007 was invoked.

The atmosphere has calmed somewhat since then and something almost resembling confidence has broken out following the wins over Wales in Cardiff and Dublin. 

The latter victory took Ireland to No 1 in the world rankings for the first time in their history though most fans are treating that as a kink of the system rather than an invitation to crow. 

Still, the impressive 19-10 demolition of a largely first-string Wales in the Aviva Stadium ensured that Ireland departed for Japan in more buoyant mood than seemed likely in late August. 

After the debacle in London, Joe Schmidt assured supporters that the performance, while still unacceptable, had to be judged in light of the fact that the team were coming off a heavy week of training. 

Much has been made of the intensity and severity of Ireland's summer training programme and it was stressed that the team were not due to peak until they hit the Far East.

Has this happened? Well, Ireland's defence coach and prospective head coach Andy Farrell sounded a very bullish note this week.

"The intensity, the bite that's in training is very significant and there's a completely different feel, so I suppose that's a culmination of what's happened over the last couple of months into this week.

"The build-up, the week, the buy-in, the grabbing hold of the week by not just the senior players but everyone in the group has been very significant... We are building because we don't want to reach boiling point on Wednesday or Friday."

Scottish wildcards

Scotland are widely respected in Ireland as dangerous opponents, their mercurial backline frequently tipped to catch fire against Joe Schmidt's side one of these days. 

The Six Nations meeting in February was emphatically not one of these days, despite Finn Russell's show of brilliance in creating Scotland's only try for centre Sam Johnson.

It was an otherwise error-ridden display from Scotland, especially in the second half, against a clearly vulnerable Ireland who were still recuperating from the opening weekend loss to England.

This was generally of a piece with Scotland's disappointing Six Nations campaign, one partially redeemed by a stunning and inspirational second half display against England in Twickenham. 

Sam Johnson sensationally putting Scotland ahead in Twickenham in March

Trailing 31-0 before the break, Scotland ran in five tries in a breathtaking second-half performance to go seven points ahead with minutes remaining before George Ford salvaged a draw for England at the death.

The same duo who worked the try against Ireland were to the fore, with Sam Johnson shining in the centre and Russell pulling the strings with his usual louche, off-the-cuff brilliance.  

Eddie O'Sullivan's verdict on the Scots: "They are strong chop tacklers and will excel against one-out runners. The Scots will be looking for a smash-and-grab against us on the opening day and as recent history has shown us, they are well capable of it.

"They can be got at physically. Once teams get a bit of momentum against Scotland, as Ireland have done so on a number of occasions, they find it very difficult and expansive attacks can make hay against their defence."

About the venue

Irish sport has some happy memories of the 72,000 capacity stadium. It was the site of Ireland's last victory in a World Cup game, when Robbie Keane, Gary Breen and Damien Duff put the hapless Saudi Arabians to the sword, securing Mick McCarthy's team's safe passage to the last-16 in 2002. 

The same venue also hosted that year's World Cup final where the elder Ronaldo inspired Brazil to a 2-0 win over Germany. 

TEAMS

Ireland were hit by injuries in the backline this week with Rob Kearney, Robbie Henshaw and Keith Earls all laid low. The Irish management sought to play down those injuries in recent days, stressing that the players were available for selection.

The papers weren't having it and so it came to pass. All three are not part of the squad this weekend. 

Jordan Larmour slots in at full-back, while Andrew Conway is included on the wing, with Garry Ringrose replacing Henshaw at outside centre.

In the back-row, CJ Stander, who delivered an authoritative display in the final warm-up game, gets the nod of the in-form Jack Conan at number eight. 

Scotland have a fairly settled side with experienced scrum half Greig Laidlaw chosen ahead of Ali Price at 9. The team contains four changes to the team which slumped to defeat at home to Ireland in February. 

Huw Jones was omitted from the entire squad with Duncan Taylor starting at 13, Jamie Ritchie's injury sees chances to the backrow with Hamish Watson and John Barclay featuring. At prop, WP Nel starts in place of Simon Berghan who played in February. 

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

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor, Sam Johnson, Sean Maitland, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw; Allan Dell, Stuart McInally, (capt), Willem Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, John Barclay, Hamish Watson, Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Gordon Reid, Simon Berghan, Scott Cummings, Blade Thomson, Ali Price, Chris Harris, Darcy Graham. 

Coaches' view

Joe Schmidt: "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. 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."

Gregor Townsend: "Ireland have shown in recent years that they do take their chances and they punish teams. We have to win every big moment in the game. Whether that's a ruck, a tackle or the execution of a pass, we have to be there. I believe in the team and with the individuals we have in our squad I believe we will create chances. It's about taking them."

Last five meetings:

(winner in bold)

2019 SN: Scotland 13-22 Ireland, Murrayfield
2018 SN: Ireland 28-8 Scotland, Lansdowne Road
2017 SN: Scotland 27-22 Ireland, Murrayfield
2016 SN: Ireland 35-25 Scotland, Lansdowne Road
2015 RWC w-up: Ireland 28-22 Scotland, Lansdowne Road

World Cup history

Scotland and Ireland's only previous World Cup meeting was in 1991

Remarkably, Sunday's match will mark the first time in their history that Ireland and Scotland have met in a neutral venue.

The pair have managed to avoid each other in World Cups since 1991. The Gordon Hamilton game against Australia in the quarter-finals is the only match anyone remembers here from '91 but Ireland might have provided themselves with an easier route to the last-four had they not suffered defeat to the Scots in Murrayfield in the final pool game. 

Ralph Keyes penalties and a drop goal accounted for Ireland's only scores as they went down 24-15 in Edinburgh. 

The Scots proceeded to reach their only World Cup semi-final, this being a rather easier task in those days with South Africa still banned from international competition. 

Follow Ireland v Scotland on Sunday (kick-off 8.45am) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and  the News  Now  App, watch live on RTÉ2 from 8am or listen to live match commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.