Scotland centre Pete Horne does not believe the loss of star Robbie Henshaw dilutes in any way the fierce midfield battle ahead against Ireland in Yokohama on Sunday.
Reports from the Ireland camp today suggested that star Lions backs Rob Kearney and Keith Earls, who had been viewed as injury doubts earlier in the week, came through training strongly ahead of the world No 1 side's clash with the Scots in Yokohama's Pool A opener.
The veteran pair’s fellow Lion, Henshaw, was withdrawn from the game at the weekend because of a hamstring complaint but Horne takes no solace from that.
“He [Henshaw] is a great player, he's such a good defender but has good go-forward too,” said the 29-year-old Glasgow Warriors player.
“It's tough because they lose one and then Garry Ringrose comes in and he's awesome. I've got a lot of respect for Ringrose; he's such a good attacker and he's also a really smart defender.
“It maybe changes the dynamic a little but because [centres] Henshaw and Bundee Aki are both really powerful whereas Ringrose is great on that outside break and has great feet coming back, he's quite often involved in tricks plays.
“Regardless of who pulls on the jersey for Ireland they are going to be pretty handy.”
Forwards coach Danny Wilson, meanwhile, doesn’t feel the fact Ireland lost heavily to England and Wales in the summer, as well as another big loss to Eddie Jones’s men in Dublin during the Six Nations, casts any doubt on their world No 1 ranking.
“We’ve looked at all the recent games they have played. They are No 1 in the world, a good side, well coached,” said Wilson, referring to Joe Schmidt and his staff.
“They have had their ups and downs, but like us in recent games [such as the 32-3 loss to France in Nice] they have tried things, experimented with things.
“You don’t necessarily reveal your full gameplan going into your first game. All teams have done that.”
Wilson added: “I think they are one of the best teams in the world. We’ve seen those performances in recent times. They have had some huge wins and maybe the odd game they wouldn’t be happy with, but they are full of quality players and quality coaches so we know that we are going against a very good team.”
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