We don’t care about ‘Typhoon Hag­gis’

● Idea of ‘Typhoon Hag­gis’ hit­ting Ire­land game doesn’t put wind up Scot­land coach

The Scotsman - - FRONT PAGE - By DUN­CAN SMITH in Ja­pan

Scot­land head coach Gre­gor Townsend says the prospect of a “su­per typhoon” strik­ing Ja­pan at the week­end doesn’t change the fact his team need to keep win­ning to make the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Rugby World Cup.

The rapid strength­en­ing of Typhoon Hag­ibis is be­ing watched closely by me­te­o­rol­o­gists, who are pre­dict­ing it will be by far the big­gest of storm sea­son in the re­gion and is threat­en­ing to make land­fall on the lower part of Ja­pan, with the pos­si­bil­ity it may af­fect the Ire­land v Samoa game in Fukuoka, which could have a bear­ing on the out­come of Scot­land’s Pool A. Af­ter fac­ing Rus­sia on Wed­nes­day the Scots play hosts Ja­pan in Yoko­hama on Sun­day.

Tour­na­ment rules state that any pool match which can­not be played on the date set will be ruled a 0-0 draw with two points given to each side.

If that was to oc­cur on Satur­day, it would mean Ire­land (who are on 11 points to Ja­pan’s 14 and Scot­land’s five) would be elim­i­nated if the Scots beat Rus­sia and then Ja­pan, though it ap­pears that World Rugby have made plans to move the game from Fukuoka, pos­si­bly to Oita, if needs be.

Townsend was asked about the is­sue af­ter mak­ing 14 changes from the side who beat Samoa in Kobe last Mon­day for Wed­nes­day’s match against Rus­sia in Shizuoka ahead of the four-day turn­around to the po­ten­tial de­cider against Ja­pan.

“My first thought was that it was called Typhoon Hag­gis, ob­vi­ously it’s not,” he said.

“We came off the train­ing field to­day and ob­vi­ously we were made aware of it.

“It was passed around the bus pretty quickly, it’s a su­per typhoon as our doc­tor, James Rob­son, calls it.

“He’s an ex­pert on many things out­side the med­i­cal sphere, one thing be­ing the weather. He showed me a map with its form de­vel­op­ing.

“It’s some­thing that’s al­ways a pos­si­bil­ity through­out this month in this part of the world. A cou­ple have al­ready skirted past Ja­pan, but this could come into play over the week­end. I don’t think it will be a fac­tor for our game on Wed­nes­day, but per­haps we will get the tail end of it in Yoko­hama on Sun­day.”

With lit­tle chance of the storm caus­ing ma­jor prob­lems as far up as Yoko­hama, Townsend stressed that it changes noth­ing for his play­ers, who need to win their last two pool games as well as pos­si­ble.

“The Ire­land game can’t be post­poned, it has to be played that day,” he con­tin­ued. “If it can’t be played that day then it’s two points for each team. Whether it can be played in an­other venue, I’m not too sure.”

“But lis­ten, we have to win our next two games to qual­ify. That would not change if the Ire­land-samoa game ended up in a draw.”

Ir­ish me­dia are, un­der­stand­ably, get­ting slightly edgy about the prospect of a tour­na­ment they came to with hopes of win­ning be­ing ended by a

force of na­ture, but man­age­ment ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the mat­ter will be dealt with. Ire­land as­sis­tant coach Andy Far­rell said: “World Rugby has been in touch with us and they’re as keen as we are to get this game played. I be­lieve there is a con­tin­gency plan in place but I think there are 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.”

A ma­jor typhoon wreaked havoc on Tokyo just over a week be­fore the tour­na­ment was set to start and there have been a cou­ple of near misses since, in­clud­ing Scot­land’s opener against Ire­land in Yoko­hama and the France v USA match in Fukuoka when pre­dicted storms failed to ma­te­ri­alise in sig­nif­i­cant strength.

A World Rugby state­ment said: “We are mon­i­tor­ing Typhoon Hag­ibis, which is cur­rently de­vel­op­ing off the south coast of Ja­pan. The lat­est mod­el­ling from our weather in­for­ma­tion ex­perts and the Ja­pan Metero­log­i­cal Agency, in­di­cates that the typhoon is track­ing in a north-west­erly di­rec­tion and could bring high winds and heavy rain to south­ern Ja­pan on 12 and 13 Oc­to­ber.

“While it is too early to de­ter­mine the ex­act tra­jec­tory and im­pact, if any, of the typhoon at this early stage, 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 and will pro­vide a fur­ther up­date to­mor­row. ”

GRE­GOR TOWNSEND “We have to win our next two games to qual­ify. That would not change”

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