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Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt says the weight of expectation is "something we're conscious of" as they head into the Rugby World Cup as the top-ranked team.

The squad are training in Chiba, in Japan ahead of their opener against Scotland in Yokohama on September 22nd.

"I think the weight of expectation is always something we're conscious of," said Joe Schmidt. "We probably put more weight of expectation on ourselves just in the quality of performance we try to put out there and the consistency of that performance.

"We know we've been less consistent this year, a lot of what we're targetting is in the next couple of weeks. So, that's where we will judge ourselves and others will judge us for this year."

The weather in Japan may become an issue with daytime temperatures reaching as high as 30 degrees Celsius in some places. Ireland scrum-half Luke McGrath says they have been preparing for the conditions and believes it may be a benefit, he said, "heat would usually lead to a high tempo. That's what we're hoping.

"We know Scotland would bring that tempo, they play from absolutely everywhere, they love quick throw-ins, quick taps, and stuff like that so, that's what we're expecting. I suppose with the humidity, the sweat gets on the ball and it is quite hard to handle at times.

"But we trained all summer trying to implement the humidity in training. We'ver worn sweat bags throughout pre-season to help us with the variables. Hopefully, it will lead to a high tempo game, but it will be a bit different to what we're used to."

Following Scotland, Ireland take on the World Cup hosts Japan on September 28th at the Shizuoka Stadium in Fukuroi City, before playing Russia and Samoa to round out the pool stages.

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Ireland Japan Joe Schmidt Luke Mcgrath Rugby Rugby World Cup

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