SCOTLAND’S Rugby World Cup quarter-final hopes are still alive after their game against Japan got the go-ahead despite a deadly typhoon.
Japan is currently being battered by Typhoon Hagibis which has killed seven and injured more than 100 with the heaviest winds in 60 years.
But despite the deadly conditions, organisers decided the crunch match could be played on Sunday following a “detailed assessment” at Yokohama’s International Stadium.
The Scots had threatened legal action if the match had been cancelled – as it would have ensured their immediate exit from the tournament.
But they are thrilled to hear the match against their hosts will take place as planned, supposedly in front of a sell-out 70,000 crowd.
Gregor Townsend’s team need to beat the Brave Blossoms by eight clear points to secure a quarter-final showdown with New Zealand in Tokyo, next Saturday.
In a statement, the tournament organisers said: “The decision was taken following a comprehensive assessment of the venue and associated infrastructure on Sunday morning in partnership with the host city.
“World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee would like to thank everyone involved for their significant efforts to enable the match to be played as scheduled following one of largest and most powerful typhoons to hit Japan in recent years.
“Fans attending Sunday night’s match are advised to check travel operator information before departing and plan to arrive early as it may take longer than usual to enter the stadium.
“Fans should also expect a significantly reduced level of spectator service in terms of catering and merchandise sales owing to limitations on venue staff availability as a result of the typhoon.”
The decision to give the game the green light spares the tournament of a major controversy.
With World Rugby refusing to postpone the match, a cancellation would have seen it declared a draw and Scotland exit the tournament after finishing third in their group behind Ireland and the Japanese.
The Scottish Rugby Union said they would pursue legal action if the governing body did not take measures to move the game away from Hagibis’s path of destruction.
This controversial move sparked an angry response from World Rugby as they criticised Murrayfield chief executive Mark Dodson.
Hagibis – a 1400km-wide super cyclone – was predicted to be the biggest to hit Japan for 51 years.
The latest reports say seven people have been killed as a result of the storm with dozens missing after the typhoon smashed into the country’s east coast.
The Yokohama area was forecast to be among the hardest hit along the storm’s trajectory.
But the city escaped the worst weather and had returned to calm by around 10pm on Saturday night.
International Stadium staff spent the morning completing safety checks to ensure the match can go ahead in front of the capacity crowd.
However, while Scotland and Japan will get to decide their fate on the pitch, Namibia and Canada’s meeting in Kamaishi was cancelled after landslides and flooding hit areas near the Recovery Memorial Stadium.
It follows World Rugby’s decision to axe Saturday’s England v France showdown and the New Zealand v Italy clash, which ended the Azzurri’s faint hopes of reaching the last eight.
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A Scottish Rugby spokesperson said: “We are pleased our game against Japan is going ahead this evening.
“We would like to thank everyone involved for enabling this match to take place and look forward to playing the Brave Blossoms to conclude our Rugby World Cup Pool.
“It has obviously been an incredibly difficult night across large areas of Japan and Typhoon Hagibis certainly made its presence felt in Yokohama where the team are staying.
“We pass on our best wishes to everyone affected by the storm and our friends in Japan who continue to be great hosts.”