2019 World Cup: Ireland v Scotland
Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Sunday, 22 September Kick-off: 08:45 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Scotland MW and BBC Radio Ulster; plus text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Live on ITV

Scotland must be more clinical to stand a chance of beating the world’s top-ranked team Ireland in their World Cup opener, says coach Gregor Townsend.

The Scots get their campaign under way in Yokohama on Sunday, with the head coach urging his side to capitalise on opportunities while limiting Ireland’s.

“Ireland have shown in recent years that they do take their chances and they punish teams,” Townsend said.

Hosts Japan, who are also in Pool A, beat Russia 30-10 in their first game.

Hooker Stuart McInally will captain Scotland against the Irish, with Duncan Taylor and Sam Johnson starting together for only the second time at centre.

Scotland players training in Japan

‘Playing against the team ranked number one’

Townsend sticks with Tommy Seymour on the wing ahead of in-form Darcy Graham, hoping that experience will prove crucial against Ireland.

“We have something like a combined total of 630 caps, so that’s hugely important,” Townsend said.

“This is the first time this squad has all been fit and available. We’re missing probably just two of three players from every available Scotland player, so to get a squad that has this kind of experience for this kind of game is a real bonus.

“You hope experience and form will be important. It’s the opening game of the World Cup, we are playing against the team currently ranked number one in the world.

“We know Ireland are a very good team, we play against them every year.

“You can’t disguise this as anything else than a hugely important game against a very good side.”


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