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Rugby

Scotland threaten legal action if Japan game cancelled

October 11, 2019 2:29 pm

Scottish Rugby officials are preparing for a court battle after notifying the game’s governing body they will take legal action if their must-win match against Japan in cancelled.

Scotland must beat Japan and deny the hosts a losing bonus point in their final tournament game in Yokohama on Saturday to have a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

As it stands, the game is currently in doubt as Super Typhoon Hagibis prepares to wreak havoc across Japan’s eastern coast.

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Under tournament rules, if a pool game can’t be played, the match will be cancelled, and declared a 0-0 draw, meaning Japan will advance to the last eight with Scotland missing out.

World Rugby has already cancelled England’s match against France in Yokohama, and New Zealand’s clash with Italy in Toyota – the first time matches have been cancelled in tournament history.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend insists there is an allowance for force majeure (measures in the rules) which includes a “storm or tempest” in the participation agreement signed by competing teams over matches that cannot be played.

On Thursday, Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson and chief operating officer Dominic McKay were involved in heated discussions with World Rugby to ensure the game goes ahead.

“We’re willing to do whatever it takes to get this game [between Scotland and Japan] on,” a Scottish Rugby spokesman told The Telegraph. “There are 10,000 Scotland supporters here to see their team play, and for the integrity of the sport and this tournament, we’ve got to find a way to deliver on our undertaking to stage this game.

Scotland are willing to play the match on Monday if necessary. The All Blacks were reportedly given the option to play Italy on the same day, but declined.

A decision on whether the match goes ahead will be made on Sunday just six hours before kick-off.

“Every effort is being made to ensure Sunday’s matches will be played as scheduled,” World Rugby said in a statement.

“A thorough assessment of venues will take place after the typhoon has passed before a final decision is made on Sunday morning.”

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