Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Rugby World Cup 2019: Scotland's Gordon Reid relishing Russia tighthead tussle

Glasgow Warriors loosehead to face an opponent his coach Gregor Townsend has described as one of the best in Japan

Scotland prop Gordon Reid, left, is likely to start for the Pool A match against Russia. AFP
Scotland prop Gordon Reid, left, is likely to start for the Pool A match against Russia. AFP

Scotland prop Gordon Reid says he is relishing the chance to go head-to-head with a player his own coach Gregor Townsend has described as one of the best tightheads at the Rugby World Cup.

The Glasgow Warriors loosehead is determined to savour every moment of what is most likely his last World Cup when he packs down opposite Russia's Kirill Gotovtsev with a place in the quarter-finals in Japan on the line.

Reid, 32, has come off the bench in Scotland's two previous matches in Japan but will start against Russia in Shizuoka. It is a game the Scots must win with a bonus point to give them their best chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

"Their tighthead is a big strong boy and, given an opportunity, he can cause a bit of damage," Reid said of Gotovtsev. "He's a bit like myself," he added, pausing for comedic effect. "In stature."

Russia have proved tough to break down at the World Cup, with Ireland only securing the crucial bonus point in the final quarter of their match last Thursday.

While Scotland's meeting with Japan in Yokohama on Sunday is likely to determine which of them goes through to the quarter-finals from Pool A, the players have been at pains to stress how important it was to focus on Wednesday's clash with Russia.

Reid, who is behind Allan Dell in the loosehead pecking order, said he has loved his time with the squad in Japan.

"I just said I wanted to go and have fun, fun in training and spend time with the boys and have a laugh and enjoy my rugby," added Reid.

"Not everyone gets to experience these things and come out here. People would give their left leg, their right leg, their left everything to be over here, to be in the position we are."

Wales will look to put the painful memory of defeat to opponents Fiji at the 2007 World Cup behind them when they meet in Oita.

A late Fiji try in France 12 years ago sent Wales crashing out of the tournament at the pool stage.

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It was a shock result that is now the stuff of legend in Fiji, and an ongoing nightmare in Wales where there were instant repercussions, with coach Gareth Jenkins sacked immediately.

Then fly-half Stephen Jones is now Wales assistant coach and has been hammering home the message that they cannot afford to ease up.

"It's a huge disappointment when you get knocked out in the group stages," he recalled.

"It highlighted what Fijian rugby is all about. Give them space and time and they move the ball well and have an offloading game and put you under pressure."

With wins over Georgia and Australia, their biggest threat, already in the bag, a defeat to Fiji on Wednesday would not carry the same consequences but would make it harder for Wales to claim the top spot in Pool D.

Head coach Warren Gatland, who has kept most of his first choice line up together for the first two matches, has called for an explosive start "to hopefully take a little bit of that excitement away from Fiji".

Two-time semi-finalists Argentina face the USA in a dead-rubber match in Pool C without the suspended Tomas Lavanini after the lock was slapped with a four-match ban for a high tackle on England captain Owen Farrell during Saturday's 39-10 defeat in Tokyo.

Updated: October 9, 2019 05:06 AM

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