Rugby World Cup 2019: Can Scotland spoil the party for sparkling Japan?

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By Tom English
BBC Scotland
On Monday morning we woke to a typhoon heading round the Western Pacific Ocean bound for Japans information. The meteorological agency known as it Typhoon Hagibis and within our innocence it had been nicknamed Hurricane Haggis and since it was thought it could damage the chances of making the World Cup quarter-finals of Ireland and improve the odds of Scotland.
Many Scots were laughing afterward. Nobody had been laughing on Saturday because this thing started to growl its manner outside Yokohama, the place (ideally ) for Scotlands massive battle with Japan to choose that goes through and that goes out.
Before Hagibis made landfall at Shizouka Prefecture at local time on Saturday, 1 man was murdered in Chiba, three were missing after a landslide at Gunma, 211,600 houses were without electricity and evacuation orders had been issued to millions of households.
Planes were grounded, trains stopped , roofs were torn off buildings, record rainfall was captured amid terrible flooding. At 162kmph, winds were measured During its centre and gusting in 234kmph. Each day sombre news presenters stood depicting what they thought was the complete scale of this horror approaching. You did not need to know the language to have the gravity of the message.
Approximately 6.20pm an earthquake having a magnitude of 5.7 hit offshore in Katsuura in Chiba. Where the Scotland staff are remaining, Over 60 miles off the tremor was felt in Yokohama. Fraser Brown, Scotland hooker, tweeted a video of his hotel corridor moving and creaking from side to side.
About the floor of this Vista resort, as supper was eaten by guests, the construction swayed. Japan has such an astonishing history of natural disasters that its people are stoic in moments. Food was brought by the team like nothing had happened. To them, it was normal and that there wasnt anything to worry about. To the tourists, it was spooky.
Sunday will bring back the sun to Yokohama – but can we have a match? The term is that World Cup organisers will have a site review around 6am (22:00 BST) and will announce a choice between 8am and 10am. That is not a deadline. Technically, they could wait till six hours before kick-off – 1.45pm neighborhood (05:45 BST) – to create their call.
This was exactly what Scottish Rugby believed they went to perform. It is recognized that they only realised that a decision may come hours before when they see it in an internet media report on Friday. They are at what they say is a lack of communication and information from World Rugby livid.
Relations between the two bodies could be worse. If the game does not occur theres likely to be most ear-splitting outcry from the SRU. That row will run and operate. On its surface the SRU may be limited in their options but one thing is for sure – in case of a doomsday situation theyre not ready to move quietly.
Without wanting to become a hostage to fortune there were indications late on Saturday at Yokohama which Hagibis, mercifully, wasnt going to wreak the terrible havoc called and that loss of life and damage to infrastructure would not be anywhere near the realms of the horrors of Kanto and Izu typhoon of 1958, a tragedy that killed 1,200 people and one which Hagibis had been said to equal.
What does it mean to the saga of all the denouement of Scotland with Japan on Sunday? Its still too early to state. Nobody was at the stadium when Hagibis was at its most violent and when the majority rain fell, therefore no one knows what damage is present there. Flooding is a significant worry.
The organisers may still call it off on security reasons, they may allow it to proceed behind closed doors or, the series might go in front of a potential audience, in the event the damage isnt important. Nobody understands. Everybody is guessing until the team of inspectors do their work.
Scotland and Japan continue to prepare as if the match is a certainty, even as they need to. Despite the war of words between Scottish Rugby and World Rugby using Jamie Joseph, the Japan trainer, throwing in his barbs too along with the hubbub of Hagibis, this was a Test that captivated the game. Now its an unmissable affair for anyone who has ever picked up a ball.
The television audience in Japan is going to be tremendous, in or around, if we receive a match. The hosts are the group with the aid of a lot of the world, past Scotland and Ireland who have a vested interest in those losing. The championship has electrified. Their brilliantly conceived win on the Irish has been the highlight up to now.
Keep in mind that Scotland need to take four more points from the game than Japan – and Scotland arent in the company of winning and entering the garden of leading teams, never mind winning by such a margin. Discounting the victory over Italy at the neutral venue of Singapore, at Townsends time they have have just managed three away wins against Tier One counties – that is what Japan realistically are now – and only one of them, Argentina at 2018, was from the margin of success thatll cut down it on Sunday.
They could win as long they got a bonus stage. That is tough to see, nonetheless.
Joseph complained the other day that his boys are disrespected in places. Its tough to understand if he intended it or should he just said it in the expectation that his players thought that it adding more fuel for their fire. Its not true. From Scotland theres been nothing but respect for this particular Japan side.
Theyre a negative that could play at pace whilst maintaining accuracy, a group of work-rate and ability and ambition. Theirs is a twisted new rugby. Fitness levels are sky high. They have not lacked for mental resilience. Japan established against Ireland that speed could be as effective as electricity in todays game. The grunt of ireland wasnt any fit for their own energy.
Directed by the glorious Michael Leitch, theyre an fine side, hewn in Super Rugby. That it goes down in just two years if Scotland were to triumph with that magical margin of eight points.
Scotland routed Russia and Samoa. Sub-standard opposition, for certain, however the staff of Gregor Townsend had a toughness about those who impressed. Have they discovered something in childhood? Sunday will tell. Darcy Graham is an character. Fearless. Magnus Bradbury is building on his promise. Just what is being shown a player he is by jamie Ritchie. Blade Thomson is living up to the hype, however that is their Test now. That is where they sink or float.
Yes, we couch everything in the knowledge that it had been Samoa and Russia, but the mindset was a thousand times greater than it had been against Ireland. With Scotland you sometimes feel that acquiring the ideal mindset is half of the battle. They have had it and if they have it afterward a classic may ensue.
They think they are ready also have flopped and whilst recognizing that theyve been down this road many times. That is an away match and we know like when playing in the arena using the stress of a different team on what Scotland are. At their best they could do so, however Nostradamus would have given up predicting what this group was about to send from one week to another.
Should they have to travel to the stadium then they will travel to perform a team, however, a team burdened by anticipation. The one true desire is that the game is performed by having to call off it, and that their own credibility isnt further undermined by the governing body of the game. The rugby world would like to see this one. The bets, as well as the expectancy, are as high as the highest skyscraper in Yokohama.

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