World Rugby slams 'disappointing' Scotland over legal threat

Gregor Townsend
Gregor Townsend

Tokyo - World Rugby Friday hit out at Scotland over a "disappointing" threat of legal action if their critical match against Japan were cancelled because of a powerful incoming typhoon.

Scotland face elimination from the World Cup if Sunday's Pool A game is axed as a result of Typhoon Hagibis, which is due to plough into the Tokyo area on Saturday.

"It is disappointing that the Scottish Rugby Union should make such comments at a time when we are doing everything we can to enable all Sunday's matches to take place as scheduled," said the global body in a rare attack on an individual team.

World Rugby said Hagibis is predicted to be "one of the largest and most destructive typhoons to hit Japan since 1958".

The governing body added that Scotland had signed up to the tournament rules stating that if a game cannot be played on the scheduled day, it would be counted as a draw.

On Thursday, organisers were forced into the unprecedented step of cancelling two matches scheduled for Saturday - England v France and New Zealand v Italy - over fears for public safety.

They said they would decide on the viability of Sunday's crunch Pool A match between Scotland and Japan after assessing any potential damage to facilities and transport disruption.

A cancellation would result in two points for both teams - not enough for Scotland to qualify for the last eight after their opening 27-3 loss to Ireland.

The decision to cancel games has already drawn severe criticism from Italy - who still had a mathematical chance of qualifying with a first win against New Zealand.

And in an interview with BBC radio earlier Friday, Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson insisted Scotland wouldn't become "collateral damage" from the typhoon, warning that legal action was a possibility if the game is cancelled.

"We don't know that (it's too late) - we have to challenge it. This is about the game and rugby supporters across the world are absolutely astounded at this rigidity from World Rugby," said Dodson.

World Rugby said it was not able to reschedule Saturday's planned games with a "fair and consistent application... for all teams in a safe environment".

Hagibis is on course to hit Tokyo and the surrounding area on Saturday, packing maximum gusts of 216 kilometres per hour (134 miles per hour).

Japan's Meteorological Agency warned that areas from the west to the northeast of the country would experience "brutal winds and violent seas".

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