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Ireland may need to weather storm to qualify at Rugby World Cup

Ireland fans brave the rain in Kobe at the Rugby World Cup
Ireland fans brave the rain in Kobe at the Rugby World Cup
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

The differences between Ireland and Japan are obviously numerous, chief among them the weather. Or rather talking about the weather.

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Our most reliable of conversation starters isn't nearly so prevalent here in Japan.

In fact, despite the low 30s degree heat and humidity that has been a near constant of the Rugby World Cup, it has only been mentioned once to me by a local.

Even then I think her "very hot, yes?" was more in sympathy than anything else as I sat a sweaty mess having ill-advisedly walked up a hill for an hour in Kobe.

Other than that, all quiet on the weather front... even today.

Imagine if we had a typhoon lurking ominously off the coast of Portrush.

It would be all we talked about for days, special bulletins would be required, shops would run out of bread and milk, we would debate just what constitutes an unnecessary journey. Not in Japan.

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Typhoon Hagibis is on its way, reportedly by tomorrow it will be the strongest storm on Earth with winds of over 157mph granting it super typhoon status.

Yet there is hardly a peep outside of those worried what it means for the World Cup. Those rather sinister storm graphics on the weather forecast given no more status than the usual sun or light cloud.

As the rain starts to come down heavily in Seoul, South Korea, just across the bay from us here in Fukuoka, there is a quickly changing picture of just where it will land in Japan but there seems to be a consensus on when - Saturday.

Ireland have been given every assurance that everything will be done to make sure their game against Samoa scheduled for that day will take place and that there is a contingency plan in place.

Quite what it is will become clear only later.

There was some panic earlier in the tournament over rules stating an abandoned pool game would be considered a 0-0 draw - obviously a disaster for Ireland here in what is a must-win to make the quarter-finals - and the USA v France game was thought to be under threat last week only for a storm to change course. Other than that, it is business as usual.

Then again, for a country that sees 11 typhoons a year near its shores, you can forgive the Japanese for not quite panicking the way we do when there is a skiffle of snow on the way.

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