Sunday 20 October 2019

Scots may go to war with World Rugby

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend (pictured) has dropped his captain Stuart McInally for the typhoon-threatened clash after opting to start Fraser Brown at hooker. Photo: Reuters
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend (pictured) has dropped his captain Stuart McInally for the typhoon-threatened clash after opting to start Fraser Brown at hooker. Photo: Reuters

The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) will hit World Rugby with a multi-million pound claim for damages if tomorrow's final World Cup pool-stage game against Japan is cancelled.

Both sides were laying the ground for a bitter legal dispute last night, with World Rugby saying it was "disappointed" Scotland had threatened action if Typhoon Hagibis does cause the cancellation of the winner-takes-all Pool A clash.

And, on a dramatic day as the worst typhoon for 61 years closed in on Japan, Mark Dodson, SRU chief executive, insisted his side would not be "collateral damage". He added that his side would be treated differently if they were the All Blacks.

World Rugby was forced to deny New Zealand had refused to postpone their now-cancelled game with Italy to avoid a short turnaround before their quarter-final.

Italy coach Conor O'Shea warned World Rugby it must not rearrange Scotland's match - there will be a stadium inspection at 10pm today and a decision at midnight - after his side's game was cancelled.

Japan coach Jamie Joseph accused Scotland of being "motivated by avoiding embarrassment" and angrily claimed his side had been "undermined" by suggestions they wanted a postponement.

There was controversy over one of the few games that will take place, as Ireland were confronted with a substandard pitch in Fukuoka ahead of their match against Samoa.

But it is the looming threat of Scotland's legal battle with World Rugby that will cause most consternation, with the SRU enlisting the services of Nick De Marco QC, an eminent sports lawyer.

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It is thought that the SRU will launch a claim if they are eliminated without playing. They say that World Rugby's regulations allow it to move or reschedule the fixture under the force majeure clause, which includes a "storm or tempest".

"We believe World Rugby has a duty to postpone this match or to reschedule it at another venue," said De Marco.

Dodson made plain his anger at a process he believes is weighted towards "economic powerhouses" of the game, such as the All Blacks. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Japan v Scotland, live, eir Sport 1/UTV, tomorrow 11.45

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