Fraser Brown says Scotland will relish being the bad guys that crush Japan's World Cup fairytale
If Scotland’s crucial Pool A finale against Japan does go ahead in Yokohama on Sunday after Super Typhoon Hagibis has done its worst, forward Fraser Brown says the squad will relish the opportunity to scupper the hosts’ fairytale story.
Hooker Brown had a 40-minute stint in his old openside flanker position as Scotland romped to a 61-0 stroll against Russia in Shizuoka on Wednesday to keep Gregor Townsend’s men well in the hunt for a quarter-final place.
The 45-times-capped 30-year-old Brown is fully aware, but unfazed, that Japan are now every other nation’s second favourite team and will be rooting for the Brave Blossoms to march on.
“We’ve had a great time here and the people have been brilliant and so hospitable, they’re lovely and they love having rugby here, you can see it,” said the Glasgow Warriors player.
“But we’re still here as professional players you still have to go out and be clinical and professional in your mindset. Our job is to progress as far as possible in this tournament and that’s the way you approach rugby. Enjoy it when you’re off the pitch but when you’re on the pitch you’ve got a job to do. And make sure you do that as professionally as possible.”
The looming effects of Super Typhoon Hagibis could have a potentially controversial bearing on what plays out over the weekend but, if the game goes ahead as planned, Brown is ready for what awaits.
“For Japan it’s a home game and for us it’s an away game. We know it’ll be hostile and we know it’ll be all their supporters in the stadium,” he said. “We’ve got to use that, we’ve got to start the game well and control it from the beginning, understand there will be times in the game when we’ll be on the back foot and it’s not going our way.
“How do we cope with that as a team and how to we block that out? Re-focus, try to handle it and go on to the next job. Hopefully we can deal with it.”
Scotland must beat Japan while denying them a bonus, or beat them with a bonus while keeping them to just one, to make the quarter-finals and head coach Gregor Townsend is to name his team in Yokohama on Friday evening local time.
The squad was managed nicely in Shizuoka this week as the Scots strolled to a comfortable bonus-point win over the Russians.
“The guys who weren’t involved [against Russia], have done a lot of work this week to lighten the load for the rest of us going into the next couple of days,” explained Brown.
“And the guys who played, their focus was on it and to get maximum points in the game and keep things alive for going into the weekend.”
Well-spoken, polite and always honest and open, Brown always comes across as one of the true gents of the Scotland squad, but he confessed he was quite willing to play a part in ‘shooting Bambi’s mum’ so to speak by killing off Japan’s World Cup dream.
“I’ve been the bad guy a few times!” said Brown with a smile.
“It doesn’t come into our thinking. It’s rugby, it’s a professional game, we just have to go out and do our job. If a couple of people get upset because the team they want don’t win, then so be it.
“Before we came here we knew we would be playing the hosts in the last pool game, and that had the potential to be a huge game, both in terms of consequences for the group in terms of qualification but also for rugby in Japan. So it’s going to be a fantastic occasion. I saw something the other day that 30-40 million might be watching the game on TV in Japan. It will be an incredible occasion for rugby.”
Let’s hope so!
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