Amid the morass of Super Typhoon Hagibis, the chaos it has yielded onto Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and the justified Scotland outrage at their potential elimination without kicking a ball, one factor seems to have been forgotten.
A Japan vs Scotland Pool A cancellation, and consequent 0-0 draw and two competition points apiece could actually be enough for both sides to progress, depending on Saturday’s result between Ireland and Samoa.
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While two scheduled Saturday Tests: England vs France in Yokohama and New Zealand vs Italy in Toyota City have been cancelled – an unprecedented step in World Cup history – Ireland vs Samoa in Fukuoka is going ahead.
Should Joe Schmidt’s charges lose that Test without picking up bonus-point – a result which, granted, would constitute a huge shock – they would remain on their current Pool A points total of 11.
Scotland currently have 10 points, while Japan have 14. So were Ireland to lose and pick up nothing, both Japan and Scotland would actually progress to the quarter-finals in the event of a cancellation; Japan as pool winners with 16 points to face South Africa in Tokyo on Sunday October 20, and Scotland as runners-up on 12 points to face New Zealand in Oita on Saturday October 19.
Were Ireland to lose but pick up a losing bonus-point and so end on 12 points, as Scotland would also do in the event of a cancellation, Ireland would still go through due to their better head-to-head record with Gregor Townsend’s men.
World Rugby will announce by 12am BST Sunday whether or not Scotland’s game against Japan will go ahead.