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By Tom English
On Monday morning we awakened to a typhoon going round the Western Pacific Ocean bound for Japans information. The national agency known as in and it Typhoon Hagibis our innocence and since it was believed it might damage Irelands prospects of making the World Cup quarter-finals and improve Scotlands odds, it was filmed Hurricane Haggis.
Many Scots were laughing . Nobody was laughing on Saturday as this thing began to growl its manner outside Yokohama, the venue (hopefully) for Scotlands monumental clash with Japan to decide that goes through and that moves out.
Before Hagibis made landfall in Shizouka Prefecture in local time on Saturday, one man was dead in Chiba, three were still missing after a landslide in Gunma, 211,600 houses were without power and evacuation orders had been issued to millions of families.
Planes were trained, trains stopped roofs were torn off constructions, record rain was recorded amid flooding. In its centre, winds gusting at 234kmph and have been measured at 162kmph. Each day sombre news presenters stood depicting what they believed was the complete scale of the horror. You didnt need to be aware of the language to acquire their messages gravity.
Approximately 6.20pm an earthquake having a magnitude of 5.7 hit offshore at Katsuura at Chiba. More than 60 miles away the tremor was felt in Yokohama where the Scotland team are currently staying. Scotland hooker, fraser Brown, tweeted that a video of his hotel corridor moving and creaking from side to side.
About the 20th floor of this Vista hotel, as dinner was eaten by guests, the construction swayed. Japan has an history of disasters that its individuals are habituated in these moments. Food was brought by the staff as if nothing had occurred. To them, it was normal and there was nothing to be concerned about. To the tourists, it was spooky.
Sunday will bring the sun back into Yokohama – but can we have a match? The word is that World Cup organisers are going to have site review around 6am (22:00 BST) and can announce a decision between 8am and 10am. Thats not a deadline. Technically, they could wait till six hours prior to kick-off – 1.45pm local (05:45 BST) – to create their telephone.
This was exactly what Scottish Rugby believed they were going to do. Its known that they just realised when they see it on Friday 25, that a decision may come hours earlier. Theyre at the things they say is a scarcity of communication and information from World Rugby livid.
Relations between both bodies could be worse. There is going to be outcry from the SRU, if the game doesnt take place. That row run and will run. On its face the SRU may be restricted in their options but only one thing is for sure – in the event of a doomsday scenario theyre not ready to move.
Without needing to become a hostage to fortune there had been indications late on Saturday at Yokohama which Hagibis, mercifully, wasnt going to wreak the terrible havoc called and that 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 had been said to equal.
What does it mean with Japan on Sunday to the almighty saga of Scotlands denouement? Its still too early to state. Nobody was if Hagibis was its most violent and when the majority rain fell, therefore no one knows what damage is present there. Flooding is a significant worry.
It might be called by the organisers off on safety reasons, they may allow it to proceed behind closed doors or, even the full series might go in front of a capacity crowd if the damage isnt significant. Nobody understands. Until the group of inspectors do their work everybody is imagining.
Scotland and Japan continue to prepare as they must, like the match is a certainty. Even without the hubbub of Hagibis along with also the war of words involving Scottish Rugby and World Rugby using Jamie Joseph, the Japan coach, throwing in his barbs also, that was a Test that captivated the game. Its an affair for anybody who has ever picked up a ball.
The television audience in Japan is going to be tremendous, in or around, if we get a game. The hosts would be the team with the aid of a lot of the world, past Scotland and Ireland that have a vested interest in them losing. The championship has . Their brilliantly conceived win across the Irish was the highlight up to now.
Remember that Scotland should take more points out of the sport than Japan – and Scotland are not in the business of entering the backyard of winning and teams, never mind winning by such a margin. Discounting the victory over Italy in the neutral venue of Singapore, at Townsends time they have have only managed three off wins from Tier One onwards – thats exactly what Japan realistically are now – and just one of them, Argentina at 2018, was from the margin of victory that will cut down it on Sunday.
Obviously they can win by less than seven points as they have a bonus stage. That is difficult to see, nevertheless.
Joseph complained the other day that his boys are disrespected in places. It is hard to know whether he intended it or if he simply said it that his players thought that it , adding more fuel. It is not accurate. For this particular Japan side there has been nothing but respect from Scotland.
Theyre a side that can play pace while maintaining precision, a group of ambition and work-rate and skill. Theirs is a brand of rugby. Fitness levels are sky high. They have not lacked for mental resilience. Japan proved against Ireland that speed can be equally as powerful as power. The grunt of ireland was no game for their energy.
Directed from the glorious Michael Leitch, they are an all-round fine side, hewn in Super Rugby in their Sunwolves experiences. That it would go down as their victory in two decades if Scotland were to triumph with that magic margin of eight things.
Scotland routed Russia and Samoa. Sub-standard opposition, for sure, however the team of Gregor Townsend needed. Have they found something in childhood? Sunday will tell. Darcy Graham is an personality. Fearless. His promise is being built on by magnus Bradbury. Jamie Ritchie is currently showing just what a belligerent player. Blade Thomson is alive up to the hype, however that is their ultimate Test today. This is the place where they swim or sink.
Yes, we sofa everything in the understanding that it had been Russia and Samoa, but the mindset was a million times greater than it had been against Ireland. Together with Scotland you occasionally feel that getting the perfect mindset is half of the battle. Theyve had it and if they have it again in Yokohama afterward a classic could ensue.
They believe they are ready have flopped and while acknowledging that theyve already been down this road many times. This is an off match and we all know what Scotland are usually like when playing in another teams stadium together using the pressure on. At their best they could do this, however Nostradamus could have given up calling what this group was likely to deliver from 1 week to the next.
Theyll travel in hope to play with a superb team, if they have to go to the scene, however, a team maybe burdened by expectation. The only desire is that the game is performed and the governing body of the game do not further undermine their own credibility. The world wants to observe this one. The anticipation, as well as the stakes, are as high as the highest skyscraper at Yokohama.