Rugby World Cup 2019: what happens if Scotland vs Japan is cancelled on Sunday because of Typhoon Hagibis?
With Super Typhoon Hagibis bearing down on Japan, Scotland's Rugby World Cup fate hangs in the balance.
Described by BBC as "one of the most powerful tropical cyclones of the year", Typhoon Hagibis is expected to make landfall in the Tokyo region on Saturday ahead of Scotland's pivotal match against hosts Japan on Sunday at the International Yokohama Stadium.
Saturday's fixture between England and France - also taking place in Yokohama - has already been cancelled, raising genuine concerns that the storm could also result in the cancellation of Scotland's crucial Pool A fixture.
What would happen if Scotland v Japan was cancelled?
According to tournament rules, a cancelled match would result in the match being declared a draw.
The rules stipulate: "where a pool Match cannot be commenced on the day in which it is scheduled, it shall not be postponed to the following day, and shall be considered as cancelled.
"In such situations, the result shall be declared a draw and teams will be allocated two Match points each and no score registered. For the avoidance of doubt, no bonus points will be awarded."
Such a result would result in Scotland finishing third in the group (assuming Ireland defeat Samoa) and eliminated from the tournament.
Is there any alternative to a match cancellation and when will a decision be made?
Despite calls to play the game behind closed doors or move the fixture to a different part of the country, Rugby World Cup organisers appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach to the typhoon.
Organisers released the following statement relating to Sunday's game: "Every effort is being made to ensure Sunday’s matches will be played as scheduled. A thorough assessment of venues will take place after the typhoon has passed before a final decision is made on Sunday morning."
By cancelling both England v France and New Zealand v Italy, tournament organisers have shown a preference to cancel games rather than explore contingency plans.
World Rugby Chief Operating Officer and Tournament Director Alan Gilpin said at a press conference on Thursday morning: “This is a complex and dynamic situation which we have been monitoring extremely closely with the assistance of our weather information experts. We are now in a position to accurately predict the likely impact of Typhoon Hagibis on Rugby World Cup fixtures this weekend.
Worryingly the cancellation of Italy v New Zealand on Saturday shows a willingness by the tournament's governing body to call off games even when there are quarter-final places at stake.
Though New Zealand were heavy favourites for the fixture, the Azzuri could have progressed to the knockout stages with a victory over the tournament favourites. And Gilpin has indicated that Scotland v Japan would be treated in the same manner as Italy v New Zealand, stating: “Italy are in exactly the same position Scotland are in. We won’t be treating that match, if it can’t be played, any differently.”
What have the SRU said?
Following Thursday's press conference, the SRU released a statement stating that while "public safety was a priority" they fully expect "contingency plans to be put in place to enable Scotland to contest for a place in the quarter-finals on the pitch and will be flexible to accommodate this."
What should I do if I am in Japan?
Ensuring your safety should be your first priority.
A statement released by World Cup organisers advised "all fans in Japan for Rugby World Cup is to heed all official advice, stay indoors throughout Saturday and do not attempt to travel on the day.”
Fans who had tickets for cancelled games will be able to claim a full refund.