Anger is brewing in the Scotland camp over fears that their Pool A decider against hosts Japan is at risk of being cancelled due to typhoon Hagibis.
World Rugby confirmed on Thursday that both the All Blacks-Italy match in Toyota and the England-France game in Yokohama have been cancelled. A decision on whether the Japan-Scotland game will take place is to be made on Sunday morning.
Scotland’s crucial clash with Japan – the final fixture of the pool stages – could be called off after Rugby World Cup tournament director Alan Gilpin confirmed that if it is not safe for the match to go ahead in Yokohama on Sunday, it will be cancelled. This would result in the game being deemed a scoreless draw with both teams being awarded two points, which would eliminate Scotland from the competition.
According to the Independent, the Scotland camp are angry with the prospect of World Rugby not making alternative plans to move the game to another venue or delay kick-off until Monday. The union has called on rugby’s governing body to change its plan to ensure the match goes ahead as scheduled.
‘We are in regular dialogue with World Rugby at all levels to work to ensure our fixture against Japan on Sunday can be played as planned,’ said a Scottish Rugby spokesman.
‘With potential impact on our last Pool A fixture, Scottish Rugby fully expects contingency plans to be put in place to enable Scotland to contest for a place in the quarter-finals on the pitch, and will be flexible to accommodate this.’
The statement has placed the Scottish Rugby Union in disagreement with World Rugby, who has previously stated that it will not provide alternative measures to change the venue, as it won’t be able to accommodate this procedure for other affected teams.
‘We looked pretty exhaustively at all the options,’ said Gilpin. ‘It is important to note that where we are is in accordance with what we said we would do before the tournament.
‘Doing that on this scale, with so many teams to move around, and to be able to deliver safely the exit of 12 teams after the pool stage, we couldn’t guarantee contingency plans consistently. If we can’t do it for all, we can’t do it for any.’
Should the match between the Brave Blossoms and Scotland be scrapped, Japan will be guaranteed first place in Pool A.
Even if Ireland manage to claim a bonus-point victory against Samoa in Saturday’s game in Fukuoka – a match that is predicted to not be affected by the approaching typhoon – the Irish would still finish second to Japan due to their head-to-head record with the hosts.
Picture: Mark R. Cristino/EPA