TOKYO, 18 Sep - Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg believes there is no better time to face Ireland than in their opening pool fixture in Yokohama.
The two highest-ranked sides in Pool A meet at the International Stadium in a contest that could decide who ultimately tops the group.
Ireland have risen to No.1 in the world after winning their final two warm-up tests, both against Wales, but Hogg, above, is bullish about the Scots' prospects.
"If there is a time to take on Ireland, I believe it is now, before they get up a head of steam," said the 27-year-old.
"We are fully aware of the challenges they are going to bring but we are concentrating on ourselves and making sure we bring our 'A' game.
"We have got a lot of set-piece plays, a lot of counter-attack opportunities and defensively we are going to have to be spot-on.
"We believe defence will win World Cups, and that is something we have been working incredibly hard on since we came together in June."
While Ireland have injury concerns over full-back Rob Kearney, winger Keith Earls and centre Robbie Henshaw, Scotland are in the rare position of preparing for their opening game with everybody, bar flanker Jamie Ritchie, "fighting fit and gunning to get a starting jersey" according to Hogg.
"The quality and standards in training have been right up there with the best I have been involved in," said the Exeter-bound full-back, who is poised to win his 70th cap on Sunday. "We feel we are in a good place but now it is about making sure we do our job.
"Ireland have some incredible players and whatever team they put out, we are going to have to match it and beat it. It is a huge challenge.
"We are just concentrating on making sure we don’t beat ourselves and make too many silly errors. We might get five or six opportunities in the game to get some points on the board and we have to make sure we make the most of every single opportunity we are given.”
Scotland have embraced the enthusiasm and adulation from Japanese fans since arriving in the country, but it seems Hogg has caused confusion after recently shaving off his peroxide blond locks.
"Somebody came up to me with a poster to sign, saying, 'are you Finn Russell?' I said, 'no, I'm not Mr Russell’ and thought that was going to be the end of it. But he looked at his sheet again and (prop) Willem Nel came next! I think it must have been the haircut or something. On the profile photo I still had blond hair.
"We have had some fun since being here but we are fully aware we are here to do a job, and that is getting our campaign off to a great start with a win against Ireland."
Apart from flanker Ritchie, who was due to return to training on Wednesday after a broken cheekbone but is unlikely to be available until Scotland’s second match against Samoa, head coach Gregor Townsend has a fully fit squad to choose from. He will name his team on Friday.