Chris Paterson: Behind The Scenes at RWC2019

Chris Paterson: Behind The Scenes at RWC2019

​Former Scotland Captain, Chris Paterson, is in Japan for the Rugby World Cup and will be joining the commentary team for World Rugby’s World Feed.

Before the 2019 tournament begins on Friday with the match between hosts Japan and Russia, Chris gives us his insight into what could lie ahead for the teams at the tournament and reflects on his playing days to give a glimpse into the mindset of our players and backroom staff.

Chris Paterson on the Rugby World Cup Tournament…

It sounds obvious but Rugby World Cups are special. They create special memories for players, staff and supporters and I know 2019’s event in Japan will be no different.

For the players it will be the reward of many months and years of sacrifice and dedication, but it will also be physically and emotionally very demanding.

The physical part is obvious through their actions and exertions on and off the field which is quantified and monitored constantly through testing and results, but the emotional journey can be much harder to prepare for.

Everyone involved from the players to the coaches and support staff can expect to experience the full range of emotions from elation and celebration in success to being disappointed and distraught in defeat, not forgetting some anger and frustration along the way.

The best piece of advice is perhaps to remain somewhere in the middle of the two extremes using the peaks and troughs to inspire the next performance, although that’s easier said than done.

The physical part, only the players will experience, but the emotional part will affect us all.

One of my roles in Japan is to be involved with World Rugby’s “World Feed” TV commentary team and I’m co-commentating on 11 of the pool stage matches starting with New Zealand v South Africa on Saturday followed by our game versus Ireland on Sunday.

If Scotland qualify for the quarter-final stages through either finishing 1st or 2nd in Pool A they would face either the 1st or 2nd placed team in Pool B, likely to be New Zealand or South Africa so it will be important to keep a close eye on the shape, structure and form of both teams on Saturday evening.

It will be interesting to see if the teams play similarly to their recent Rugby Championship encounters or if they have, which I expect, evolved their game further over the last few weeks.

What we do know is that the level of physicality from the South Africans will be immense and the All Blacks will be looking to kick off their World Cup defence with a statement.

I believe both of these teams have the ability to win the tournament. This Rugby World Cup is being touted as the most open tournament yet with the eventual winners coming from a much larger pool of teams than previous iterations and I wouldn’t be surprised if the team who go on to lift the trophy on 2 November haven’t suffered defeat at some point in the pool stage.

Looking ahead to Sunday, when Scotland take the field against Ireland it will be day 3 of the tournament. When Scotland played their 1st game of the tournament against Japan (their 2nd) in 2015 it was day 6. This may seem like a small point but I can tell you, as a player, once the tournament starts you want to be a part of it as soon as possible! I’d imagine the players will watch most of the other games in the competition.

The games will be on in the team room between training sessions and in the evenings before and after dinner so it is hard to escape the buzz.

The players will want to make their own, and Scotland’s mark early in the campaign. The longer you wait for that first game, the more the pressure builds. Their first opportunity comes on Sunday.

Over the next few weeks I hope to analyse and discuss some of the key moments, players, form and stories of the Rugby World Cup 2019. I’ll also try to pick out what I think are the key moments in games that go on to determine the result. I’m sure there’ll be highs and lows along the way… but I’ll try to remain somewhere in the middle.

Chris Paterson is the only Scotsman to play in four Rugby World Cups and is also Scotland’s highest point scorer. He’ll be sharing his insight into the Scotland camp and how his team are progressing through the tournament in the coming weeks.

Continue to visit the Fan Zone at scottishrugby.org for exclusive interviews, articles, videos and image galleries from Japan.

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