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World Rugby to make 'special allowances' if Typhoon Hagibis disrupts Ireland's World Cup clash with Samoa

Ireland's game against Samoa this weekend could be shifted.
Ireland's game against Samoa this weekend could be shifted.

By Jonathan Bradley in Fukuoka

Ireland have moved to ease fears that Typhoon Hagibis could bring an unfortunate end to their World Cup later this week.

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The storm, which could soon be upgraded to super typhoon status, has formed in the South Pacific and is forecast by some to hit Japan's southern Kyushu island at the weekend where Ireland are due to take on Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday morning.

Per tournament rules, any pool stage game that has to be abandoned is not replayed but is declared a 0-0 draw with two points to each side, a result which would put Japan through into the quarters and leave Scotland only needing to beat the then already qualified hosts to knock Ireland out.

Defence coach Andy Farrell revealed yesterday that World Rugby had been in touch to confirm they would look at every possible measure to ensure the game is played and the tournament's integrity maintained.

"The boys haven't even spoken about it really," said the man who takes over from Joe Schmidt after the World Cup concludes.

"We just work on a day-to-day basis and get on with our preparations. World Rugby has been in touch with us and they're as keen as we are, as you are, to get this game played.

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"I believe there is a contingency plan in place with updates every 24 hours. We just get on with our day job and try to best prepare every single day. We'll see what comes of that."

Players, too, seem unconcerned at present. Prop Andrew Porter said: "I only heard about that (yesterday).

"I don't think World Rugby really care if there's a bit of wind or rain. They want it going ahead so, yeah, we'll have to be ready for all conditions.

"It was the same for the week leading up to the Scotland game really and I think we dealt with the conditions well that week, so we're versatile like that.

"We can handle changeable weather conditions the way we do back home."

The picture can change rapidly with, on average, only three of the 11 typhoons that threaten the Japanese mainland each year actually making landfall, and latest reports suggest that it could be Tokyo that will now be most affected.

Typhoon Mitag was at one point thought to be putting France v USA in danger last week but it did not materialise. As such, it is thought no decision on Ireland v Samoa would be taken until 48 hours before the game.

"We are monitoring Typhoon Hagibis, which is developing off the south coast of Japan," said a World Rugby statement.

"The latest modelling from our weather information experts and the Japan Meteorological Agency indicates that the typhoon is tracking in a north-westerly direction and could bring high winds and heavy rain to southern Japan on October 12 and 13.

"While it is too early to determine the exact trajectory and impact, if any, of the typhoon, as per previous typhoon warnings, we have a robust contingency programme in place in the event adverse weather looks likely to impact fixtures.

"We will continue to closely monitor this developing situation in partnership with our weather information experts, local authorities, transport providers and the teams, and will provide a further update tomorrow. Fans are advised to monitor Rugby World Cup channels for any updates."

The next update on the trajectory is due this morning.

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