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Typhoon brewing means what for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales?
The storm could rain on Scotland’s parade.
With Super Typhoon Hagibis set to batter Japan with hurricane-force winds, Rugby World Cup organisers have taken the unprecedented step of cancelling two matches.
England’s clash with France on Saturday has been called off along with the New Zealand-Italy showdown the same day. A decision on the fate of Sunday’s clash between Scotland and the hosts will be made on the day of the game.
Here the PA news agency takes a look at what the latest developments mean for the Home Nations and their hopes of making the knockout stages.
While the decision to call off the match between Eddie Jones’ side and Les Bleus will upset the 70,000 supporters who were due to pack into Yokohama’s International Stadium, it was a fairly easy call for World Rugby given the seriousness of the threat posed by Hagibis. Both England and the French had already sealed qualification from Pool C and the only matter still to be decided was who went through as group winners. That honour now falls to the Red Rose, who should face Australia next up.
The initial predictions for Hagibis suggested the storm had Fukuoka in its sights. Ireland are due to complete their Pool A campaign against Samoa there on Saturday but with the typhoon’s shift towards the east of the country, the game will now go ahead as planned. Victory with a bonus point would guarantee qualification for the last eight no matter what happens with the Scotland-Japan clash.
Sunday’s match-up between Warren Gatland’s Dragons and Uruguay in Komomatu on the south-western tip of Japan is expected to escape the wrath of Hagibis. Wales already top Pool D and need only a draw against the South Americans to confirm they go through as winners to a likely quarter-final showdown with the French.
It is Gregor Townsend’s team who have the biggest concern over the weather. World Rugby bosses will leave making a decision on whether their clash with Japan in Yokohama goes ahead until Sunday morning but if they do decide to scrub the fixture, the Dark Blues will be out. The Scots have 10 points from three Pool A fixtures while the Brave Blossoms sit four in front. If the game is called off the match would be declared a draw and Japan would qualify along with Ireland. If the game gets the go-ahead, Scotland need to win while ensuring the hosts do not pick up more bonus points than they manage to ensure they march on to the next phase.