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Super typhoon set to wreck Scotland's dream

Closing in: Typhoon Hagibis has already cancelled two World Cup games
Closing in: Typhoon Hagibis has already cancelled two World Cup games

The Rugby World Cup has been severely impacted by Super Typhoon Hagibis, with games cancelled and teams left scattered across Japan.

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In an emergency press conference yesterday, World Rugby announced that the game in Yokohama between England and France, and the one in Toyota City involving New Zealand and Italy, were cancelled, with further games under threat from the extreme weather this weekend.

Scotland's Pool A decider against Japan, scheduled for Sunday night, is also at risk of cancellation if conditions are deemed unsafe.

The development is a humiliating one for World Rugby, who have been forced to cancel games for the first time in the 32-year history of the World Cup, given that Italy's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals have been ended by the cancelled match with the All Blacks.

Scotland could also find themselves on the end of a similar decision, which has prompted a fierce response from the Scottish Rugby Union over World Rugby's confirmation that the game will not be relocated.

Here's everything we do and don't know.

The games that should be played this weekend are:

Today

Australia vs Georgia (Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa) - 7:15pm (11:15am BST)

Tomorrow

Ireland vs Samoa (Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium) - 7:45pm (11:45am BST)

Sunday

Namibia vs Canada (Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium) - 12:15pm (4:15am BST)

USA vs Tonga (Hanazono Rugby Stadium) - 2:45pm (6:45am BST)

Wales vs Uruguay (Kumamoto Stadium) - 5:15pm (9:15am BST)

Japan vs Scotland (International Stadium okohama) - 7:45pm (11:45am BST)

The games that have been cancelled are:

Tomorrow

New Zealand vs Italy (City of Toyota Stadium) - 1:45pm (5:45am BST)

England vs France (International Stadium Yokohama - 5:15pm (9:15am BST)

Are any of the games still under threat?

Yes. Scotland's clash with Japan is at risk of being cancelled if conditions are deemed unsafe to stage the match, even though Typhoon Hagibis will have passed through Yokohama by that point.

The match between Namibia and Canada lso appears to be in danger, even though Kamaishi is not directly on the expected path of the typhoon.

What happens when games are cancelled?

The match is ruled a 0-0 draw, with two points awarded to both teams.

That means England and France remain first and second in Pool C, with England progressing at pool-winners and France as runners-up.

New Zealand are also guaranteed top spot in Pool D, but Italy lose out heavily as they needed to beat the All Blacks to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stage. Ironically, it is the first time Italy have drawn with the All Blacks, standing as their best result against the side even though it ends their World Cup campaign.

What happens if Japan vs Scotland is cancelled?

Both teams are awarded two points, which would be enough to secure Japan first place in Pool A and eliminate Scotland in the process.

Currently, Japan lead the group on 14 points, with Ireland in second on 11 points and Scotland third with 10 points, meaning Scotland need to beat Japan and prevent them from claiming two bonus points, or hope Samoa beat Ireland on Saturday.

What have Scotland said?

They are understandably furious, given that there has already been the suggestion for matches to be relocated or rescheduled. A spokesman for the Scottish Rugby Union said: "We are in regular dialogue with World Rugby at all levels to work to ensure our fixture against Japan on Sunday can be played as planned. Public safety is the clear priority.

"With potential impact on our last Pool A fixture, Scottish Rugby fully expects contingency plans to be put in place to enable Scotland to contest for a place in the quarter-finals on the pitch, and will be flexible to accommodate this."

What have World Rugby said?

Rugby World Cup tournament director Alan Gilpin said: "We looked pretty exhaustively at all the options. What is important to note is that where we are is in accordance with what we said we would do before the tournament.

"Doing that on this scale, with so many teams to move around, and to be able to deliver safely the exit of 12 teams after the pool stage, we couldn't guarantee contingency plans consistently. If we can't do it for all, we can't do it for any.

"We have looked again at the potential to apply some consistency to our contingency plan across all the games and we treat all the matches fairly. Italy are in the same position as Scotland are in. It is a huge match and we would love to play that game. But we won't treat that match any differently."

How bad will the typhoon be?

Hagibis is already predicted to be the worst typhoon of the year, with the current tropical cyclone measured at 1,400km wide - 1,000km more than Typhoon Faxai that devastated Tokyo and the Kanto region last month.

Winds have been recorded at peaks of 160mph, with sustained winds of 150mph moving the typhoon at around nine miles per hour.

The expectation is that the tropical cyclone will weaken on its approach to the Tokyo Bay area, but it has been described by Jeff Masters, a meteorologist with the magazine Scientific American, as one of the most damaging typhoons in Japanese history.

"If it hits Tokyo Bay like some of the current forecasts are saying, then it's going to be a multibillion dollar disaster," Dr Masters said.

Last year, Typhoon Jebi proved the worst tropical cyclone for 25 years, killing 11 people, injuring hundreds and costing an estimated $12.6bn in damage, while Faxai killed three people last month.

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