IRFU deny allegations they were opposed to Scotland-Japan rearrangement

Statement says claims made by journalist Stephen Jones are ‘scurrlilous and untrue’

Scotland’s clash with tournament hosts Japan will go ahead on Sunday morning. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty

The IRFU have released a statement asking The Times (UK) rugby journalist Stephen Jones to withdraw "scurrlilous and untrue" allegations that Ireland were opposed to Scotland's Rugby World Cup clash with Japan being rearranged.

The final Pool A clash between Gregor Townsend’s Scots and the tournament hosts came under threat of cancellation due to Typhoon Hagibis, before being given the go-ahead on Sunday morning.

Had the fixture been abandoned both sides would have been awarded two points each, knocking Scotland out of the Rugby World Cup and securing top spot in Pool A for Japan, with Ireland progressing as runners-up.

And in The Sunday Times, Jones had suggested the IRFU, as well as the New Zealand rugby union, were, “vehemently opposed to any rearrangement” of Scotland and Japan’s meeting in Yokohama.


He claims the IRFU’s motivations for wanting the game cancelled, rather than rearranged, are unclear - but on Sunday morning the IRFU denied the allegations.

A statement read: “The statement by Stephen Jones in today’s edition of The Sunday Times (October 14, 2019) referring to The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) being ‘vehemently opposed’ to any rearrangement of the Scotland V Japan Rugby World Cup fixture is completely false and the inference within the article that the IRFU made representations to World Rugby on the matter is totally without foundation.

“The Irish Rugby Football Union calls on Stephen Jones to immediately withdraw this scurrilous and untrue allegation.”