IT’S the battle of the body products. Sitting in the cold of the UK, how to you replicate the kind of conditions the players will face in the hot, steamy weather they are getting in Japan?

Wales were first out of the blocks when they admitted to spreading baby oil over the rugby balls to make sure they were really slippery, just as they will be in hot conditions where sweat gets on them and makes them greasy.

Now Scotland have come clean on their tactic, which, apparently, is to turn to hair products to achieve the same effect.

“We had the shampoo and conditioner out over the ball in Edinburgh,” Mike Blair, the assistant coach who has a special interest in the matter since he is in charge of skills while also sharing the attack duties with Gregor Townsend, the head coach.

“Mainly just water here [in Japan] because the sweat is more of an issue. The wet is obviously not ideal, but the sweat is difficult to deal with.

“In every game, we go in with different strategies depending on who we are playing and what the conditions are. We have got a lot of personnel in our team who are very good in [wet] conditions like that as well. We are known as a team who want to play a lot of rugby and move the ball around quickly and we feel very comfortable doing that. But we also feel we have got guys in the squad who are capable of playing in different conditions as required.”

The difficulty for all the European teams is that conditions in Japan are without any shadow of a doubt different to anywhere else they have played. While the temperature over the weekend is expected to be in the mid 20s Celsius, there could be a downpour and even if that stays away, humidity will be between 75 and 90 percent. Those are hard conditions to play attacking rugby and Blair knows that. “The conditions here have been tough with the heat, so there is a balance between getting used to that and giving the players time to recover. It is likely to be wet and a bit cooler in Tokyo, but I never trust the weather forecast,” he added.

The team are about to leave their training camp in Nagasaki, where the strong local links with Scotland – the team were presented with their World Cup caps in gardens created by Thomas Blake Glover, who helped turn the city into an industrial centre while also playing a role in the founding of Mitsubishi – have helped make them a hit with the locals with Greig Laidlaw a particular favourite.

“They call him ‘Mr Greig’ but it isn’t just Greig, he is probably the poster boy, but they seem to know a lot of the players’ names and there is a really good buzz around the place,” Blair added. “There has been a lot of enthusiasm around the guys.”

From the players’ point of view, the whole experience has helped turn the World Cup from something on the horizon into concrete reality with the fact that they are playing the world’s No.1 team when they face Ireland in Yokohama on Sunday.

“They are a really well-drilled team and they have got a really good set piece and some good half-backs who try to control the game very well,” was the verdict from fly half Adam Hastings. “ If we can slow down their ball and make life hard for their half-backs, that will bode well for us. It will be an intense game and there will be a lot of big shots going in, which is what people want to see and it is what you want as a player as well. I am looking forward to it.”

They arrive in Tokyo later, promising that by now all the shampoo is strictly for their hair. The time for exotic tricks is over.