Ireland's World Cup game against Samoa set to go ahead as Typhoon Hagibis forecast to side-step Fukuoka
The weather watch continues. The news, for the Irish rugby team, for the people of Fukuoka and this corner of the island of Kyushu is good. Hagibis appears have taken a side-step.
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Although contingency plans were being put in place to avoid a scenario where a team could be knocked out of the World Cup due to the conditions, the idea of changing days or changing cities as a result of the forecast would not have appealed to Joe Schmidt who will breathe easier as he checks the latest from the local met office.
Fears over Ireland's final Pool A fixture against Samoa being postponed have abated as the typhoon veers north towards Tokyo and threatens other cities and matches instead.
World Rugby retain a watching brief, the Irish management continue their plans to take on the Islanders here on Saturday.
Another hourly update - Hagibis now heading more east, hitting central Japan on Oct 12th and Tokyo on overnight into morning on Oct 13th.— Oliver Trenchard (@OliverTrenchard) October 8, 2019
Furthest point is now east of Japan at 9am on Oct 13th, indicating that it may be clear of Tokyo region by #JPNvSCO match. pic.twitter.com/DugxRfKOGP
"We're probably about as informed as you guys are in terms of where it's heading," forwards coach Simon Easterby said.
"By all accounts things can change reasonably quickly – but we are playing here on Saturday against Samoa unless we're otherwise informed.
"That is how we have prepared all week and how we're still preparing. We may know more later on, or tomorrow, but as far as we're concerned we're planning to take on Samoa here in Fukuoka."
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Although the looming storm is hogging headlines, the weather has become far more benign in the last couple of days in Fukuoka.
Temperatures have dipped to a much more manageable 22 degrees and the humidity has vanished.
It should make for altogether more amenable conditions on Saturday, although one concern replaces another with worries over the condition of the pitch at the Fukuoka Stadium another worry after it cut up badly in the previous matches played there.
"We have looked at that and there is very little you can do about that but it's certainly something we're aware of. The training pitch we're on has also cut up a little bit so maybe that's good prep'," Easterby said.
"I think after every game, reports go in and if there are any issues, the team that is potentially playing in that venue will raise them prior to the beginning of that week.
"We can't do too much about that. If we stay in Fukuoka and we play here, we have to deal with the conditions that will present themselves. Both teams have to play on that pitch so let's hope it doesn't impact the game too much."
Thirty of Ireland's 31 players trained fully earlier today, with Jordi Murphy missing out.
Robbie Henshaw is set to return to the starting XV, with Joe Schmidt set to name a strong side.
"We're in pretty good shape at this stage," the former flanker added.
"A win would be first and foremost. I think there are certain elements in our game against Russia that we'd like to think we could have done better, but we have to be prepared to deal with a real physical Samoan side, a side that have shown in parts to be really good.
"They'll want to finish the tournament on a high and they'll feel like maybe they haven't quite hit their straps – as we feel we maybe haven't quite hit ours, probably since the Scotland game and maybe the first 20 minutes of the Japan game.
"So there's so much to play for, obviously there's the potential for us of a World Cup quarter-final to play for and I think we're just thinking about getting our house in order and making sure that we perform to our best.
"We have to deal with the physical, abrasive and very talented Samoan team to do that."
Belfast Telegraph Digital