Japan braces as Typhoon Hagibis bears down


No matter what happens from here on in, irrespective of whether Scotland's game with Japan goes ahead or is cancelled, the integrity and credibility of this Rugby World Cup have already been seriously undermined.

Scotland head-coach Gregor Townsend is hoping the incoming "super typhoon" doesn't wreck their hopes of making the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup.

All games canceled because of weather are logged as scoreless draws and each team will get two competition points, meaning Italy can not finish better than third in Pool B and England will top Pool C without having to play France, despite both teams being unbeaten.

The final standings in Pool D will be determined by the outcome of Friday's match between Australia and Georgia, while Pool A rests on the result between Ireland and Samoa on Saturday, as well as Sunday's clash featuring Scotland and hosts Japan.

World Rugby announced the two pool fixtures scheduled for Saturday will not take place on "safety grounds" as the typhoon bears down on Japan, but Ireland's game against Samoa in Fukuoka is to be played.

The cancellation meant Italy can not finish better than third behind New Zealand and South Africa in Pool B, and England will top Pool C without having to play France, despite both teams being unbeaten.

"This is a complex and dynamic situation which we have been monitoring extremely closely with the assistance of our weather information experts", Tournament Director Alan Gilpin said at a press conference held in Tokyo this morning.

The Pool B match between New Zealand and Italy in Toyota on Saturday has also been cancelled, denying Italy their outside chance of qualifying. "However the safety of the fans, competitors and everyone at the Suzuka Circuit remains the top priority".

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However, violence erupted as police dispersed crowds with tear gas, and then battled hardcore protesters in multiple locations. A metro station in the nightlife district of Wan Chai had a sheet draped over it which read: "This way to HELL".

Typhoon Faxai hit the Tokyo region on the eve of the tournament, with destructive winds of up to 216 kph (134 mph) causing transport chaos and power outages.

Earlier this week, World Rugby had indicated contingency plans were in place to deal with extreme weather, which included potentially relocating some of the games affected. If the game is called off the match would be declared a draw and Japan would qualify along with Ireland.

However, with the storm shifting east, there is now a threat for two other huge games in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo.

Nonetheless, any games cancelled at the World Cup due to unfavourable weather are considered scoreless draws.

"We always knew there would be risks but it's rare for there to be a typhoon of this size at this stage of the year", he added.

With World Cup organisers taking the unprecedented decision to cancel two World Cup matches, Sportsmail answers the key questions on the storm that has rocked the tournament. "We have no regrets". "If we are looking outside the hotel window on Sunday and it's sunny, it would be quite odd if a game could not be played that day or the next day".

It's the first time any Rugby World Cup games have been cancelled.

He revealed to The Telegraph that he had nearly been seriously injured by a typhoon in Japan and praised organisers' decision to cancel his side's game against France.