Gregor Townsend’s carefully laid plans for dealing with the scythe hanging over Scotland – just four days between their last two pool games - since this World Cup schedule was announced have been long in the planning.
The threat of a major scale “super-typhoon” approaching the southern tip of Japan could throw Pool 1 into controversy and chaos and possibly force Saturday’s Ireland-Samoa to be cancelled and declared a draw.
Picking a shadow team with 14 changes does not mean Scotland are taking Russia lightly as they go in search of an essential bonus point in their third Rugby World Cup pool game in Shizuoka, said head coach Gregor Townsend.
Fraser Brown will win his 45th cap for Scotland but only his second starting in the back row as Gregor Townsend changed all but one of his starting XV for the third pool game of the Rugby World Cup against Russia in Shizouka on Wednesday.
Well, if they really needed any idea, Japan beating Samoa in Toyota on Saturday night was a crystal clear exhibition of exactly what Scotland are up against.
Zander Fagerson could have eaten a whole cow of Kobe beef only his bank balance couldn’t have taken it, but he’s more prepared for several pounds of Russian beef coming his way on Wednesday.
Scotland can expect to come off against Russia to waiting ice-baths, “recovery skins”, supplements and every form of science to help them recover for Japan four days later.
Henry Pyrgos was lying in bed under the weather when the call came from Gregor Townsend to get himself packed and on a plane to Japan, but the Edinburgh scrum-half is used to these quick summons across the world.
Scotland’s Rugby World Cup pool hasn’t exactly shaken out as anyone expected, and not just the obvious shock of Japan beating Ireland in Shizuoka last week.
Adam Hastings’s brief World Cup debut against Samoa on Monday made history as he and dad Gavin became the first son and a father to both play in a Rugby World Cup, but he expects maybe a little more game-time with Scotland daunting double-header up next.