Video: Scotland face challenging World Cup pool with hosts and Ireland

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Gregor Townsend’s squad will need to bring their A-Game to overcome a rested Japan and a hungry Ireland.

Scotland faces some stiff competition in the group stage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: SNS

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Picture: SNS

Gregor Townsend’s squad will face off against the host nation and Ireland in Pool A in Japan.

The other two group spots will go to the ‘Europe 1’ seed and the Playoff winner, with Romania and Samoa hot favourites to make up the five.

Scotland played well in their last encounter with Ireland - a world cup friendly in August 2016 - but the Irish came from behind to win 28-22.

Scotland have a healthy record against Japan in the competition, with their last encounter ending in a 45-10 pasting. On that occasion, Japan were hot off a seismic victory over South Africa and only had three days to prepare.

Read more: Roles reversed as Scots face tough World Cup schedule in Japan

This time round, Japan will have four days longer to prepare than Townsend’s men, not to mention an added boost from the war cries of the home nation fans.

“There is a lot of excitement that comes with knowing who you’re playing,” Townsend told scottishrugby.org.

“Facing Ireland in the opening round really focuses the mind on just how big a challenge this tournament is going to be, on top of the prospect of facing the hosts, who had a brilliant World Cup in 2015.”

Scotland’s Japan 2019 World Cup Campaign kicks off against Ireland on September 22nd.