October 3, 2019 / 12:20 AM / 13 days ago

No complaints about tight schedule, says Scotland hooker Brown

KOBE (Reuters) - Scotland have no complaints about the World Cup schedule despite Gregor Townsend’s side being at a huge disadvantage for the Pool A finale against hosts Japan, says hooker Fraser Brown.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Scotland v Fiji - BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Britain - November 10, 2018 Scotland's Fraser Brown prepares to take a lineout throw Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

The Scots play Russia in their penultimate group game on Oct. 9 before facing Japan four days later in a match that is likely to push one side into the quarter-finals and the other through the exit door.

In contrast to Scotland’s quick turnaround, Japan play Samoa on Oct. 5 and will have had a week to rest and prepare for the crunch meeting in Yokohama.

While some pundits have suggested the hosts have been given an unfair advantage for the match, Brown said there were no grounds for complaint.

“We can’t say it’s not fair because it’s us, and four years ago or last week someone else had it so it doesn’t bother you,” he told a news conference. “It’s the way the tournament is.

“There’s five-day turnarounds in the league, there’s five-days turnaround back home between league games and European games. You just have to deal with it.”

Brown, who came on early in the second half of Scotland’s 34-0 win over Samoa on Monday, said the squad were supported by a huge backroom staff that had mapped out nutrition, recovery and training plans to deal with the World Cup schedule.

“They’ve been planning this not just for the last four weeks, they’ve been planning for a year and a half. They have all those things in place,” he added.

“It’ll be difficult, you can’t hide away from the fact it’s difficult to play two test matches in four, five days.

“We’ve known this for a long time, you’ve got to get your head round it.”

Scotland will likely turn to some of their fringe players to get the job done against Russia and save front-line legs for the Japan challenge, though some core members of the squad may have to double up.

Brown said playing at the Rugby World Cup puts huge physical demands on players and that some of the strain could be eased by raising the 31-man squad limit.

“The reason you’re selected to go to the World Cup is because you’re a good player but it’s meant to be a challenge to be able to perform and win,” he said.

“It does put a lot of strain on players, particularly now when we’re talking about player welfare and HIAs (Head Injury Assessments) being a massive focus for the past two or three years.”

As a top tier side Scotland will be under huge pressure to perform against the ‘Brave Blossoms’ and extend their World Cup campaign. However, the hosts, who will be roared on by an emotional and expectant home crowd, will also have a huge weight on their shoulders, said Brown.

“For us it’ll be a high pressure game but it’ll be pressure for them as the host nation,” he added. “I don’t know if there’s any favourites, it’ll be about who deals with the pressure and I don’t think you can put that down to odds.”

Editing by Christian Radnedge

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