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By Tom English
On Monday morning we awakened to the information of a typhoon heading round the Western Pacific Ocean bound for Japan. The agency known as in and it Typhoon Hagibis our innocence it was nicknamed Hurricane Haggis and because it was thought it might damage the prospects of making the World Cup quarter-finals of Ireland and boost the opportunities of Scotland.
Scots were laughing afterward. Nobody had been laughing on Saturday because this thing started to growl its strategy towards Yokohama, the venue (hopefully) for Scotlands massive battle with Japan to decide who goes through and that moves out.
One person was dead in Chiba, three were missing after a landslide at Gunma Before Hagibis made landfall on Saturday at Shizouka Prefecture in local time, 211,600 houses were without electricity and evacuation orders had been issued to millions of families.
Planes were grounded, trains halted, roofs were torn off buildings, record rainfall was recorded amid horrible flooding. At 162kmph, winds were measured at its center and gusting in 234kmph. Each day news presenters stood in front of graphics depicting what they thought was the full scale of the horror approaching. You did not need to be aware of the language to have the gravity of their message.
Approximately 6.20pm a earthquake having a magnitude of 5.7 hit offshore at Katsuura in Chiba. In which the Scotland team are staying, Over 60 miles off the tremor was felt in Yokohama. Fraser Brown, the starting hooker of Scotland, tweeted a video of his hotel corridor moving and creaking from side to side.
On the floor of this Vista hotel, as dinner was eaten by guests, the building swayed softly. Japan has an history of natural disasters that its individuals are caked in moments. Food was brought by the team as if nothing had occurred. To them, it was normal and there was nothing to be worried about. To the tourists, it was eerie.
Sunday will bring back the sun into Yokohama – but will we have a game? The term is that World Cup organisers will have a site inspection around 6am (22:00 BST) and will announce a decision between 8am and 10am. That is not a deadline. Technicallythey could wait until six hours before kick-off – 1.45pm local (05:45 BST) – to create their telephone.
That was exactly what Scottish Rugby believed they went to do. Its known that they only realised when they see it in an online media accounts on Friday a decision may come hours. They are at what they say is a lack of communication and information from World Rugby livid.
Relations between the two bodies could be worse. Theres likely to be ear-splitting outcry from the SRU if the game doesnt take place. That row run and will run. On its surface the SRU might be restricted in their options but only one thing is for certain – in the event of a doomsday scenario theyre not ready to proceed.
Without wanting to be a hostage to fortune there were indications late on Saturday in Yokohama that Hagibis, thankfully, was not 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 tragedy that killed 1,200 people and one which Hagibis was said to equal.
What all does it mean to the saga of the denouement of Scotland with Japan on Sunday? Its still too early to state. Nobody was if the most heavy rain fell and when Hagibis was barbarous, so nobody knows what damage is present there. Flooding is a significant worry.
It might be still called by the organisers off on safety reasons, they may allow it to go ahead behind closed doors or, even in the event the harm isnt significant, the series might proceed in front of a capacity crowd. Nobody knows. Everybody is guessing until the group of inspectors do their job.
Japan and scotland continue to prepare as they need to, as if the sport is a certainty. Even without Hagibis hubbub along with also the war of words between Scottish Rugby and World Rugby using Jamie Joseph, the Japan trainer, throwing into his barbs too, that was a Test that captivated the game. Its an unmissable affair for anybody who has ever picked up a ball.
The television audience in Japan is going to be huge, in or around 60m, if we receive a match. The hosts are the team with the aid of a lot of the world, past Scotland and Ireland who have a vested interest in those losing. Japan have the tournament. Their brilliantly was the highlight so far.
Keep in mind that Scotland need to take four points out of the match than Japan – and Scotland are not in the company of going into the backyard of winning and teams, not mind winning with such a margin. Discounting the victory over Italy at the neutral venue of Singapore, in Townsends time they have have only managed three off wins against Tier One counties – thats exactly what Japan realistically are now – and only one of these, Argentina at 2018, was by the margin of victory that will cut it on Sunday.
They could win as they have a four-try bonus stage. Thats difficult to see, however.
Joseph complained that his boys are disrespected in areas. Its tough to know if he intended it or if he said it that his players believed it, adding more fuel to their fire. Its not true. Theres been nothing but respect.
They are a group of work-rate and skill and ambition, a negative that may play at pace whilst maintaining precision. Theirs is a new rugby. Fitness levels are high. They have not lacked for resilience. Japan established against Ireland that rate could be as effective as electricity. The grunt of ireland wasnt any fit for their own energy.
Directed from the Michael Leitch, they are an all-round fine side, hewn from their Sunwolves experiences in Super Rugby. It would go down as their triumph in just two years if Scotland were to triumph with that magical margin of eight points.
Scotland hauled Russia and Samoa. Opposition, for certain, but the staff of Gregor Townsend needed. Have they discovered something in childhood? Sunday will tell. Darcy Graham is a personality. Fearless. His promise is being built on by magnus Bradbury. Jamie Ritchie is currently revealing just what a player. Blade Thomson is alive up to the hype, however that is their final Test. That is the place where they swim or float.
Yes, we sofa everything in the knowledge that it had been Russia and Samoa, but the attitude was a thousand times better than it was against Ireland. With Scotland you feel that getting the right mindset is half the battle. They have had it lately games and a classic might ensue should they have it in Yokohama.
They think theyre prepared while acknowledging that they have already been down this road many times and also have flopped. This is an off match and we all know what Scotland are usually like when playing the arena together using the stress of a different team on. At their best they can do this, but Nostradamus would have given up calling what this team was likely to send from 1 week to the next.
Theyll travel in expect to play a team Should they get to travel to the scene, however, a team maybe burdened by anticipation. The one true desire is that the sport is played by needing to call it off, and their own credibility isnt further undermined by the governing body of the game. The world wishes to see this one. The bets, and the anticipation, are as large as the maximum skyscraper in Yokohama.
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