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By Tom English
On Monday morning we woke to a typhoon going across the Western Pacific Ocean bound for Japans news. The meteorological agency known as it Typhoon Hagibis and in our innocence and since it was thought it could damage the chances of making the World Cup quarter-finals of Ireland and raise the odds of Scotland, it was nicknamed Hurricane Haggis.
Many Scots were laughing afterward. Nobody had been laughing on Saturday as this thing began to growl its way outside Yokohama, the place (hopefully) for Scotlands monumental clash with Japan to determine that goes through and that goes out.
One man was dead in Chiba, three were still missing after a landslide at Gunma before Hagibis made landfall on Saturday in Shizouka Prefecture at 7pm local time, 211,600 houses were without electricity and evacuation orders had been issued to millions of families.
Planes were trained, trains haltedroofs were torn off buildings, record rainfall was recorded amid flooding that was horrible. During its center, winds have been measured at 162kmph and gusting in 234kmph. Each day sombre news presenters stood facing graphics depicting what they thought was the full scale of the horror. You did not need to understand the language to get the gravity of their message.
Approximately 6.20pm a earthquake having a magnitude of 5.7 hit abroad in Katsuura in Chiba. More than 60 miles away the tremor was felt in Yokohama where the Scotland staff are currently remaining. Fraser Brown, Scotland hooker, tweeted a movie of his hotel corridor moving and Immunology from side to side.
About the floor of the Vista hotel, as supper was eaten by guests, the construction swayed softly. Japan has such an astounding history of natural disasters that its people are stoic in such moments. The team brought food as if nothing had happened. To them, this was normal and that there was nothing to be worried about. To the tourists, it was spooky.
Sunday will bring the sun back to Yokohama – but can we have a match? The word is that World Cup organisers will have a site review around 6am (22:00 BST) and will announce a decision between 8am and 10am. That is not a hard and fast deadline. Technically, they could wait until six hours before kick-off – 1.45pm neighborhood (05:45 BST) – to create their telephone.
This was what Scottish Rugby thought they went to perform. Its known that they only realised a decision may come hours earlier when they read it in an internet media report on Friday evening. They are at what they say is a scarcity of communication and information from World Rugby livid.
Relations between the two bodies could scarcely be worse. If the game does not occur there is going to be ear-splitting outcry in the SRU. That row run and will operate. On its face the SRU may be restricted in their options but only one thing is for sure – in case of a doomsday scenario they are not ready to go quietly.
Without needing to become a hostage to fortune there were no signs late on Saturday at Yokohama that Hagibis, mercifully, wasnt likely to wreak the terrible havoc predicted and loss of life and damage to infrastructure wouldnt be anywhere near the realms of the horrors of Kanto and Izu typhoon of 1958, a disaster that killed 1,200 people and one which Hagibis was said to rival.
What does it mean with Japan on Sunday to the saga of all the denouement of Scotland? Its still too early to say. Nobody was in the scene if Hagibis was its most barbarous and when the most heavy rain fell, so nobody knows what damage exists there. Flooding is a significant worry.
The organisers might call off it on safety grounds, they might let it go ahead behind closed doors or, even in the event the damage is not significant, the series that is complete might go in front of a potential audience. Nobody knows. Until the group of inspectors do their work, everybody is guessing.
Japan and scotland continue to prepare as they need to, as if the match is a certainty. Even without also the war of words involving Scottish Rugby and World Rugby with Jamie Joseph throwing his barbs too and Hagibis hubbub, that was already a Evaluation that captivated the sport. Its an affair for anyone who has ever picked up a ball.
The television audience in Japan will be tremendous, in or around if we get a match. The hosts would be the group with the aid of much of the rugby world, past Scotland and Ireland who have a vested interest in those losing. Japan have electrified the championship. Their brilliantly imagined win on the Irish was the highlight up to now.
Bear in mind that Scotland need to take points from the sport compared to Japan – and Scotland arent in the company of entering the garden of teams and winning, not mind winning by a margin. Discounting the victory over Italy in the neutral venue of Singapore, in Townsends time theyve have just managed three away wins against Tier One onwards – that is what Japan realistically are currently – and just one of them, Argentina in 2018, was from the margin of victory thatll cut down it on Sunday.
They could win by less than seven points provided that they have a four-try bonus stage. Thats hard to see.
Joseph complained the other day that his boys have been disrespected in areas. It is hard to understand whether he intended it or when he explained it that his players believed it, adding more fuel for their fire. Its not accurate. For this Japan side there has been nothing but admiration from Scotland.
They are a group of work-rate and skill and vision, and a negative that can play at pace while maintaining accuracy. Theirs is a chaotic brand of rugby. Fitness levels are sky high. They havent lacked for resilience. Japan established that rate could be as effective as power. Irelands grunt was no fit for their energy.
Directed by the Michael Leitch, theyre an all-round fine side, hewn in Super Rugby. If Scotland were to win with that margin of eight things it would go down in two years as arguably their victory.
Scotland hauled Russia and Samoa. Opposition, for sure, but the staff of Gregor Townsend had a psychological toughness about them that impressed. Have they discovered something in childhood? Sunday will inform. Darcy Graham is an irrepressible personality. Fearless. His promise is being built on by magnus Bradbury. Jamie Ritchie is currently showing exactly just what a belligerent player he is. Blade Thomson is living up to the hype, but this is their Test today. That is the place where they float or sink.
Yes, we sofa everything in the understanding that it had been just Samoa and Russia, but the attitude was a million times better than it had been against Ireland. With Scotland you feel that obtaining the right mindset is half the battle. They have had it lately matches and then a classic could ensue, if they have it again.
They believe theyre prepared have flopped and while acknowledging that theyve been down this road many times before. That is an off game and we all know like when playing in another teams arena using the strain on, what Scotland are. At their best they could do this, however Nostradamus would have given up predicting what this group went to provide from 1 week to another.
Theyll travel in hope to play with a team if they have to go to the stadium, but a team maybe burdened by anticipation. The one true wish is that the game is played by needing to call it off, and the governing body of the sport do undermine their credibility. The rugby world wishes to find this one. The bets, and the expectancy, are as high as the maximum skyscraper in Yokohama.
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