As typhoon threatens World Cup bid...
Scots urge organisers to ensure crunch clash goes ahead
Gregor Townsend: plea (pic: SNS Group)
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has called on Rugby World Cup organisers to “do their utmost” to ensure the crunch meeting with hosts Japan goes ahead.
If the match, scheduled to take place in Yokohama on Sunday, is cancelled due to the typhoon threatening the area it will see the Scots eliminated from the tournament.
England against France on Saturday has already been called off because of Typhoon Hagibis, but it’s hoped Scotland against Japan can go ahead, even behind closed doors. A decision has been delayed until Sunday morning.
The Scots acknowledge that public safety is priority and Townsend said: “We’ve got to have faith in the organisers that the game will be played, even if it’s behind closed doors.
“I would hope everybody involved with the competition would want the game to go ahead and will do their utmost for that game to be played.”
Scotland, third in Pool A on 10 points with leaders Japan on 14, need to beat the hosts to go through, potentially relying on bonus points.
If second-placed Ireland beat Samoa, a two-point haul would mean Scotland finish third in Pool A and go out, although, in this scenario, an Ireland defeat would mean Scotland progress.
Ireland’s match with Samoa in Fukuoka is expected to go ahead.
While the decision to cancel matches has been accepted as a safety issue, there has been criticism over a failure to re-schedule them to protect the integrity of the tournament.
Tournament director Alan Gilpin said: “The decision to cancel matches has not been taken lightly.
“It has been made with the best interest of team, public, and tournament volunteer safety as a priority based on expert advice,” he said.
The Pool B match between New Zealand and Italy in Toyota on Saturday has also been cancelled, denying Italy their outside chance of qualifying.
Cancelled matches see both teams awarded two points as part of a 0-0 draw.
It means England progress as winners of Pool C, two points ahead of France in second place, and face a probable quarter-final against Australia, with Wales expected to top Pool D and therefore play the French.
France would have the advantage over Wales of a two-week rest, compared to one week.
Decisions so far:
- OFF: England v France and New Zealand v Italy (Saturday).
- ON: Ireland v Samoa (11:45 BST, Sat) and Australia v Georgia (Fri) both set to go ahead.
- ON AS IT STANDS: All four Sunday games – including Scotland v Japan (11:45 BST) – but a review will be made on Sunday morning depending on the damage caused by the typhoon