Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland focused on Japan, not South Africa, after beating Scotland

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is talking his team down, despite making an impressive start to their Rugby World Cup campaign against Scotland. 

The world's top-ranked side were ruthless in their 27-3 win in Yokohama on Sunday, which has put them on course for a likely quarter-final tussle against South Africa.

Schmidt said he was impressed with the Springboks, despite their defeat to the All Blacks on Saturday. 

"I thought it was a heavyweight contest last night," Schmidt said. "We might be light heavyweight or middleweight, I don't know - it was a super game. 

"South Africa were bristling. It's a very different situation from last time in the World Cup, when we were trying to build our way through the pool, knowing France was going to be a real mountain to climb." 

What will make the challenge even tougher is the fact Ireland have never made it past the quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup. 

Despite having one eye on South Africa, Schmidt doesn't want to look too far ahead, with Ireland back in action in six days against hosts Japan. 

"We may be able to manage the squad, you might think, but watching Japan - that first half they played against England and they went through the Pacific Nations Cup unbeaten - they are a dangerous team.

"If they get some tempo, we might be on the back foot, so we've just got to take it step-by-step. We won't be talking too much about South Africa."

Ireland loose forward and man-of-the-match against Scotland CJ Stander echoched his coach's thoughts. 

"It's just another game," he said. "You have to pitch up and you can't look too far into those games, but if we have to play against them at some stage, they're a formidable side, a good side - a lot of physicality, big men.

"I know a lot of them and some of the coaches as well, so look, it's something that I'm not looking at now. 

"For me now, it's about the next few weeks and the next few games, and make sure I get back into the team."

New Zealand-born midfielder Bundee Aki and loose forward Peter O'Mahony are both in doubt for the match against Japan, with both failing head injury assessments (HIAs) in the win against Scotland. 

"We had two HIAs, in Bundee and Pete," said Schmidt. "They are both symptom-free at the moment, that's reassuring, but we've got to go through the process.  

"They failed HIA one, so they've got to go through HIA two and three to determine whether or not they have a concussion.

"Beyond that, the minimum time you can turn around a player is six days, so we'll look at how that pans out over the next probably 48 hours, when they do their HIA two and HIA three."

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The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

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