RWC 2019: Win-or-bust showdown between Scotland and Japan is given the go-ahead

Press Association Sport 10:03 13/10/2019
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Scotland’s Rugby World Cup fate will be decided on the pitch after their win-or-bust showdown with Japan was given the go-ahead following a stadium inspection.

The Dark Blues feared they would be knocked out of the tournament without kicking another ball if the match was cancelled in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis.

But following a “detailed assessment” of the match venue at Yokohama’s International Stadium, the climax to Pool A with the hosts will take place as planned in front of a sell-out 70,000 crowd.

Gregor Townsend’s team need to beat the Brave Blossoms by eight clear points to secure a quarter-final showdown with New Zealand in Tokyo, next Saturday.

In a statement, the tournament organisers said: “The decision was taken following a comprehensive assessment of the venue and associated infrastructure on Sunday morning in partnership with the host city.

“World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee would like to thank everyone involved for their significant efforts to enable the match to be played as scheduled following one of largest and most powerful typhoons to hit Japan in recent years.

Japan are hoping to reach the knockouts for the first time.

Japan are hoping to reach the knockouts for the first time.

“Fans attending Sunday night’s match are advised to check travel operator information before departing and plan to arrive early as it may take longer than usual to enter the stadium.

“Fans should also expect a significantly reduced level of spectator service in terms of catering and merchandise sales owing to limitations on venue staff availability as a result of the typhoon.”

The decision to give the game the green light spares the tournament of a major controversy.

With World Rugby refusing to postpone the match, a cancellation would have seen it declared a draw and Scotland exit the tournament after finishing third in their group behind Ireland and the Japanese.

The Scottish Rugby Union said they would pursue legal action if the governing body did not take measures to move the game away from Hagibis’s path of destruction – a move that sparked an angry response from World Rugby as they criticised Murrayfield chief executive Mark Dodson.

Hagibis – a 1,400km-wide super cyclone – was predicted to be the biggest to hit Japan for 51 years.

The latest reports say five people have been killed as a result of the storm with dozens missing after the typhoon smashed into the country’s east coast.

The Yokohama area was forecast to be among the hardest hit along the storm’s trajectory, but in the end the city escaped the worst weather and had returned to calm by around 10pm on Saturday night.

International Stadium staff have spent the morning completing safety checks to ensure the match can go ahead in front of the capacity crowd hoping to see whether it will be hosts who reach the knockout rounds for the first time or Townsend’s team.

However, while Scotland and Japan will get to decide their fate on the pitch, Namibia and Canada’s meeting in Kamaishi was cancelled after landslides and flooding hit areas near the Recovery Memorial Stadium.

It follows World Rugby’s decision to axe Saturday’s England v France showdown and the New Zealand v Italy clash, which ended the Azzurri’s faint hopes of reaching the last eight.

A Scottish Rugby spokesperson said: “We are pleased our game against Japan is going ahead this evening.

“We would like to thank everyone involved for enabling this match to take place and look forward to playing the Brave Blossoms to conclude our Rugby World Cup Pool.

“It has obviously been an incredibly difficult night across large areas of Japan and Typhoon Hagibis certainly made its presence felt in Yokohama where the team are staying.

“We pass on our best wishes to everyone affected by the storm and our friends in Japan who continue to be great hosts.”

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WATCH: "Japan will have 70,000 people giving them energy" - Scotland boss Gregor Townsend

Sport360 staff 18:10 12/10/2019
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Gregor Townsend is all smiles in Scotland

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend believes it will be his side against 70,000 Japan fans as they take on the Rugby World Cup hosts on Sunday in Yokohama.

The fate of that crunch Pool A game and whether or not it will go ahead is yet to be decided, as Typhoon Hagibis hits central Japan.

Saturday’s games between New Zealand and Italy in Toyota and England and France in Yokohama were cancelled and will not be rescheduled – both teams will receive two points from the fixture.

Townsend admitted he feels ”disappointed” for Italy veteran Sergio Parisse who will miss out on the chance to play his farewell and final RWC game against the All Blacks.


The ”Brave Blossoms” currently top the pool with 14 points, so effectively anything but a bonus point with for Scotland would see them miss out on the quarter-finals, unless Ireland are beaten by Samoa on Saturday.









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RWC 2019: Watch as Michael Cheika says England had "better win" against Australia after week off

Sport360 staff 12:56 12/10/2019
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Michael Cheika aimed a cheeky barb at compatriot Eddie Jones after Australia warmed up for their potential Rugby World Cup quarter-final with England with a stuttering display against Georgia.

The Wallabies defeated the eastern European side 27-8 in their last game in Pool D on Friday, and Cheika claims likely last eight opponents England will be refreshed after a week off – their final pool clash against France was called off over the weekend due to Typhoon Hagibis.

“Well, I saw that he (Eddie Jones) was saying that that would be an advantage in that the Typhoon gods were smiling on him, so I suppose they’d better win,” said Cheika.

“They’ve had the best preparation according to the coach, so they better get out there and win. That’s the best possible preparation. We’ll see how we go.”










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