Take Six: Scotland ring the changes, England unites and Ireland lick their wounds

Last Saturday was an amazing opening to this Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Last Saturday was an amazing opening to this Rugby World Cup in Japan.

But it got even more Super on the second weekend as the hosts shocked Ireland in Shizuoka.

So without further ado, here’s everything else you might have missed from another pulsating 24 hours of action in the Far East.

After Pool A was thrown wide open on Saturday by hosts Japan, Scotland’s clash with Samoa on Monday becomes absolutely vital.

Gregor Townsend’s side have to win to keep themselves in the shake-up for the knockout spots – and the head coach has made five changes to his team after the bruising opening loss to Ireland.

On the wing Darcy Graham comes in for his first Rugby World Cup start ahead of Tommy Seymour while Chris Harris is chosen at outside centre ahead of Duncan Taylor.

Then in the pack, Townsend has picked an all-new back row with Blade Thomson at No.8 and Magnus Bradbury and Jamie Ritchie on the flanks.

“We have a responsibility when we are with the national team to give our best,” he said.

“We know we if we don’t win all the next three games we won’t make the quarter-finals. The players are aware of that but they enter every game with the belief and determination to win anyway.

“(These changes) are what we believe is right for this week. We could have made less changes, we could have made more. In terms of the back row, we feel this is the combination we are looking for this week.

“Magnus (Bradbury) is a traditional carrier, we lost that with Hamish (Watson). Blade (Thomson) has played very well for us, he hasn’t played 80 minutes yet but he has shown in training and he showed last week that he is capable of playing 80. Jamie would have been in the mix for last week, he has been an outstandingly consistent player for us over the last 18 months. So they deserve to get an opportunity this week.”

It will take a while for the pain of this defeat to subside for Ireland.

But when it does, Joe Schmidt can begin his search for the positives – and no better place to start than the form of both Garry Ringrose and Jack Carty.

Carty came into the No.10 jersey on Saturday in Shizuoka for his first-ever World Cup start and did not miss a beat in the first half.

His kicking game was magnificent, his dink to the corner laid on Ringrose’s opener before he repeated the trick to set up Rob Kearney for their second.

His side did not fire many shots in the second half as the game slipped away, but that was largely down to the brilliance of Japan rather than anything Carty did wrong.

And outside him Ringrose appears to be returning to top form, he made four clean breaks in the first half alone and ruled the skies to score the first and set up Ireland’s second.

With Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki missing, it was time for Ringrose to step up and the Leinster man did just that.

England were given the weekend off to relax in Kobe after making it two wins from two.

But with the big business of the France and Argentina games still to come, now is the time for the squad’s togetherness to shine through.

Jones has rotated his squad across their opening two games, but now there will be some disappointed faces outside the matchday 23.

But Jones – who will be in Tokyo on Sunday watching Wales v Australia – has made ‘Team of 31’ t-shirts for the whole squad to remind them of the unity required to win a World Cup.

Attack coach Scott Wisemantel said: “It puts a test on togetherness but togetherness is one of our themes and the players openly talk about it.

“Socially they hang out and then when they’re on the field they compete hard. Whether they’re in the 23 or not they’re competing for places, they’re not just passengers. That’s what we want, it creates electricity.”

Ireland back-rower Jack Conan and France prop Demba Bamba have both been ruled out of the World Cup through injury.

Their replacements are due to be announced imminently, with Conan having missed Ireland’s defeat to Japan, while Bamba has not been able to train with France.

Conan had been due to start against the Japanese in Shizuoka before pulling up with a foot issue, and having watched the game in a walking boot, it was confirmed that he will be heading home by coach Joe Schmidt.

“Jack Conan, unfortunately, has a fracture in his foot and he will return home to Ireland tomorrow,” said Schmidt.

Bamba, meanwhile, came off the bench in France’s opening victory over Argentina, but suffered a thigh injury in training this week.

He had been expected to start against the USA, but after missing training for the last two days, it was confirmed that he has suffered a tear and will be replaced.

Both replacements are set to be named over the course of the weekend.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has set his team a points target to restrict Australia when the two teams meet in Tokyo on Sunday.

The Pool D clash sees the top two sides in the group face off, with Wales knowing that a win would put them in great shape to qualify first in the pool.

And having seen off Georgia 43-14 in their opener, Edwards has demanded an improvement from a defensive perspective against the Wallabies.

He said: “(The target is) less than 50, put it that way! We always set ourselves a target and sometimes we achieve it, sometimes we don’t.

“We didn’t achieve it in the last game, so the boys are pretty pumped up to try and achieve it against what is a fantastic offensive Australia side.

“They’ve got two brilliant half-backs who are really experienced. They know how to push the boys around the park but we have to counteract that.”

Australia found themselves under pressure in their opening win over Fiji before finishing strongly in the final 20 minutes.

That involved two tries from rolling mauls from hooker Tolu Latu, and Edwards expects the Wallabies to turn to that formula once again.

He added: “I think their last performance showed that their driven lineout is a huge presence for them at the moment. It definitely got them out of trouble against Fiji.

“The nine and ten are always an emphasis for any team but particularly for Australia, with the experience and the skill they have there. They’ve also got some good impact coming off the bench, with obviously Kurtley Beale there who is a tremendous player.”

Italy fly-half Carlo Canna insists that Italy are ready to take on the best teams in Pool B as they gear up for meetings with South Africa and then New Zealand.

The Azzurri have won two from two, with bonus-point successes against Namibia and Canada, but now face a much stiffer challenge against the Springboks.

South Africa fell to an opening loss to the All Blacks but have since bounced back with a convincing 57-3 success against Namibia, becoming the first team to top 50 points in the tournament.

And Canna, who scored his maiden World Cup try in the win over Namibia, is excited at the prospect of taking on two of the world’s top teams.

He said: “We’ve known our opponents for a long time and that we were starting with the lowest in the rankings to the highest.

“Now we are playing the teams higher than us in the rankings and they are the real challenge.

“We are a tight group, on the pitch and off it. We enjoy playing together and that makes it easy to play as a team.”