Scotland assistant coach Matt Taylor said he was not aware of any contact from World Rugby to discuss possible contingency plans after latest forecasting suggested Super Typhoon Hagibis, which is bound for Japan this weekend, could now threaten the Yokohama area, where the Scots are due to face the hosts in a potential quarter-final decider on Sunday.
It had been initially thought that the southern part of Japan would be the worst hit by what is now a Category 5 (the highest) storm, the biggest of typhoon season, with Hagibis being described as the most violent and powerful storm in the world this year, even more so than the one which devastated Barbados and parts of the Caribbean earlier in the year.
The main concern was Saturday’s Ireland v Samoa match in Fukuoka, with Ireland assistant coach Andy Farrell revealing to the press that the Dublin-based world governing body had been in touch to say contingency plans were in place, believed to be possibly moving the game to Oita.
In the past day in Japan predictions have altered to suggest that the brunt of the typhoon could now affect central and northern Japan on Saturday and Sunday, with the Tokyo-Yokohama area believed to be under threat, but at today’s press conference in Shizuoka Ecopa Stadium, ahead of Scotland’s match there against Russia, Taylor said he wasn’t aware of any contact.
“Not that I know of, I don't think so,” said the defence coach.
“Usually the management will update us on that but I can't be 100 per cent sure. 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.”
Tournament rules state that if a pool match cannot be completed on the scheduled day it will be deemed a 0-0 draw with two points to each side, which would be no use to Scotland if Ireland complete their match the day before and beat Samoa. Venue changes, which would be sure to be a major headache considering the Japan-Scotland game is a 70,000 sell-out, are factored in. Come the knock-out stage, reserve days have been set aside for postponements.
World Rugby released a statement yesterday saying it was “monitoring” the situation, had “a robust contingency programme in place in the event adverse weather looks likely to impact fixtures” and would continue to issue updates.
Hagibis is the 19th of Japan's 2019 typhoon season. The worst previous storm this year was Typhoon Faxai, which tore through Tokyo a couple of weeks before the start of the tournament. Three people were killed and 147 injured, more than 390,000 people evacuated, 934,000 households left without power and mass disruption to train services.
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