SCOTLAND stand-off Finn Russell admits his dreams have come true after being picked to face Japan on Wednesday.
The Glasgow playmaker has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks over the past two years and is now the Scots’ undoubted talisman.
But the former Ayr player admits that before he was picked up by Gregor Townsend’s Warriors, even he would not have believed he would one day run out on the biggest stage in world rugby.
However, he will get his chance to shine when he lines up against the Brave Blossoms - still buzzing after their famous win over South Africa - at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium in his side’s Pool B opener.
The laid-back fly-half said: “It’s been a long build up to the first game - especially with us being one of the last to play. But it’s starting to get close now and I’m pretty excited.
“The World Cup is the biggest stage to play on in rugby and I can’t wait to get into it.
“Two years ago I was playing club rugby with Ayr, so this will be a bit different - but it should be good fun.
“When you are young you always hope that one day you will make it to this level but for me, I never really thought it would actually happen.
“Four years ago I was working as a stonemason reading about the World Cup in the morning papers. But even then the thought of playing in the World Cup seemed like a dream.
“I’m just glad it’s come true.”
Meanwhile, lock Grant Gilchrist claims Scotland’s group has been “blown wide open” by Japan’s shock win over the Springboks.
The result has been dubbed the biggest upset in rugby history and Edinburgh forward Gilchrist believes it has now given the other teams in Pool B - Scotland, Samoa and the United States - real belief that they can edge out the South Africans in the battle for the two quarter-final slots.
Gilchrist, who has been picked ahead of giant team-mate Richie Gray in the second row, said: “We could always see Japan were a top side.
“They showed that on Saturday and in terms of the group, it’s blown it wide open.
“It changes the dynamic of the group. We want to qualify and while the Japan result doesn’t change what we want to do, it does change the mindsets of the other teams who thought South Africa would roll over all their games.”