DAVID BARNES in HAMAMATSU
THE SUPER-TYPHOON, which was headed towards Ireland’s game in the south-west of Japan on Saturday according to yesterday’s meteorological reports, now appears more likely to impact Scotland’s crucial clash against the host nation in Yokohama on Sunday.
Scotland defence coach Matt Taylor said this morning that he was not aware of World Rugby having been in touch about the prospect of Sunday’s game being affected by Typhoon Hagibis [dubbed ‘Hurricane Haggis’ by the Scottish press] –however, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has revealed the storm is now projected to clip south-eastern Japan, near Tokyo and Yokohama.
Such radical changes in direction are not unusual for typhoons nearing Japan, which sees around 20 per year. The JMA also stated that Hagibis could also continue its easterly track and miss Japan altogether.
The Pool C decider between England and France in Yokohama on Saturday could also be impacted.
Hagibis is currently classed as ‘violent’, which is the JMA’s highest classification, with gusts as strong as 270 kilometres per hour, making it the most powerful storm in the world this year. While it is forecast to weaken before it nears Japan, it will still be ‘very strong’ according to the JMA.
The doomsday scenario for Scotland would be the Japan game being cancelled, which would result in it being registered as a 0-0 draw with both teams being awarded two pool points. That would kill-off Scotland’s chances of making the quarter-finals.
However, World Rugby have already stated that ‘robust contingency plans’ are in place to ensure that all scheduled games go ahead on the day planned, with a change of venue the most likely solution if the typhoon hits a city when a game is due to be played.
“We haven’t talked about it as a coaching group and I think that if we had [heard something] we would have, which is not to say it won’t occur down the track,” said Taylor.
Scotland play their penultimate pool match against Russia in Fukuroi City, around 200kms south west of Tokyo, tomorrow [Wednesday] at 8.15am BST.