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Scots demand chance to earn knockout place


Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend has called on World Cup chiefs to do everything they can to ensure Scotland's win-or-bust clash with Japan goes ahead on Sunday - even if it means playing the crucial showdown behind closed doors.

World Rugby have been forced to call off two games tomorrow as Super Typhoon Hagibis prepares to wreak havoc across Japan's eastern coast.

But they have delayed making a decision on scrapping the Scots' final Pool A match with the hosts at Yokohama's International Stadium until the morning of the game in the hope that the worst of the storm will have passed.

Scotland need to beat the Brave Blossoms to progress but cancelling the game would see the match recorded as a draw and spell the end of the Dark Blues' campaign without them kicking another ball.

The Scottish Rugby Union have already insisted it "fully expects" plans will be made to ensure the game goes ahead, with Murrayfield sources expressing concern over the competition's sporting integrity if it were called off.

But having also called off New Zealand's clash with Italy - effectively knocking the Azzurri out of the competition - it appears World Rugby are not willing to budge on their rules that state pool matches cannot be rescheduled to a later date.

However, Townsend believes there are other ways to ensure the Japan clash goes ahead.

"We believe the game hasn't been cancelled because the weather forecast is much improved for Sunday," said Townsend. "It looks like the game will be played and that's what we have to keep faith with. (World Rugby) have made the call with a lot of certainty and a lot of confidence that the game will go ahead.

"I'd hope that everyone who is involved in the tournament would want the game to be played and that they will do all they can to ensure that it is.

"We have to have faith that the game will be played even if it's behind closed doors or at a different venue."

The way I read the rules was that you can't change days but you could change venues and contingencies would be in place."