Gregor Townsend has laughed off Japan coach Jamie Joseph’s claims Scotland will be looking to “avoid embarrassment” during Sunday’s typhoon-threatened clash in Yokohama.
The Brave Blossoms coach was angered by suggestions the World Cup hosts would be pleased to see the climax to Pool A cancelled due to the imminent arrival of Super Typhoon Hagibis as it would guarantee them a spot in the last eight.
World Rugby chiefs have yet to decide if the match at the International Stadium will go ahead as the 1,400km-wide super storm closes in on Yokohama. If it is axed, the result would be recorded as a draw and Japan would progress.
Joseph hit out at claims his team were hoping for a cancellation, insisting it was not “a fluke” that Japan were top of their pool, as he revealed their determination to prove they belong among the world’s top rugby nations.
“Just in the past few days through the media reports I’ve read, I feel they’ve undermined the achievements of the Japanese national team and the significance of Sunday’s Test for Japan,” said Joseph.
“We’ve all earned the right to be considered one of the elite teams in the world. It’s important for us to wake up on Monday morning and understand we’re a worthy top-eight team or we’re not.”
But Townsend – whose side need a win of at least eight points to guarantee their place in the quarter-finals – refused to get drawn into a slanging match with his opposite number as he brushed those comments aside.
He said: “Regarding Jamie Joseph’s comments, I did see them. On one hand he said it’s no fluke [Japan] are at the top but then he said it would be an embarrassment if we were to lose to the team who is at the top of the pool currently.
“I had a good laugh. You may know that coaches use press conferences to put messages out and to get a response from other coaches. Sometimes you don’t get to do your press conferences after the opposition so it was good to see.