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Rugby World Cup: Grant Gilchrist insists South Africa loss has given Scotland belief


Grant Gilchrist

Grant Gilchrist

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Grant Gilchrist

Scotland's World Cup group has been "blown wide open" by Japan's shock win over South Africa, lock Grant Gilchrist claims.

The Brave Blossoms left rugby fans across the globe stunned with Saturday's thrilling last-gasp 34-32 triumph over the Springboks.

The result - dubbed the biggest upset in rugby history - ended Japan's 24-year wait since their last victory at a World Cup finals and handed the two-time former champions a nightmare start.

But Edinburgh forward Gilchrist also believes it has now given the other teams in Pool B - Scotland, Samoa and the United States - real belief that they can edge out the South Africans in the battle for the two quarter-final slots.

Scotland will get their tournament under way tomorrow at Gloucester's Kingsholm Stadium and will be praying they do not become the latest victim of Eddie Jones' side.

Gilchrist - who has been picked ahead of giant team-mate Richie Gray to start in the second row - said: "We have always had a lot of respect for Japan. We've been looking at them for a long time and could always see they were a top side.

"They showed that on Saturday and in terms of the group, it's blown it wide open.

"It changes the dynamic. Looking from the outside you'd have expected South Africa to have won their first two games before facing us.

"But even the likes of Samoa, now that they have a win under their belt over the US, will be looking at South Africa and saying, 'We want to beat them as well'."

Dark Blues head coach Vern Cotter won't take risks against the Japanese after naming a near full-strength line-up.

He said: "I think the result hit home. Certainly there is no complacency there. Our squad is a humble group.

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"It gave us an additional focus because they didn't just compete - they won. We expect them to be just as ferocious, just as well organised against us."

Scotland: Hogg; Seymour, Bennett, Scott, Lamont; Russell, Laidlaw; Dickinson, Ford, Nel, Gilchrist, J. Gray, Wilson, Hardie, Denton. Replacements: Brown, Grant, Welsh, R. Gray, Strauss, Pyrgos, Horne, Maitland.

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