Typhoon chaos in Japan; Joe Schmidt names his team to face Samoa
The Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the Rugby World Cup with The Irish Times sports team
A typhoon course map of Hagibis is seen as Alan Gilpin, tournament director for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and Japan Rugby 2019 CEO Akira Shimazu attending during a press briefing. Photo: Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo
There’s a storm brewing in Japan and Ireland, although not directly, are set to feel its effects. Super Typhoon Hagibis is set to make landfall in Japan this weekend and, as a result, England’s meeting with France and New Zealand’s clash with Italy have both been cancelled. That means that New Zealand will finish top of Pool B with South Africa second. On an extraordinary morning in the history of the Rugby World Cup the organisers also announced that Scotland’s showdown with Japan (scheduled for 11.45am Irish time on Sunday) is also in doubt but a decision will not be made until a minimum of six hours before kick-off. Were that game to be cancelled Ireland would finish second to Japan on head-to-head record and therefore face the All Blacks in the quarter-finals. However, Scotland are not going to let their chances go without a fight and they say that they believe plans must be in place to get the game played. You can read all of the details and fallout here and we will have more from a hastily-called Scottish press conference with Gregor Townsend which is currently ongoing.
Although overtaken somewhat by ‘Super Typhoon Watch’, the other main news this morning is Joe Schmidt’s Ireland team announcement for Saturday’s meeting with Samoa (not in danger of any typhoon because it’s on the other side of the country in Fukuoka) which will see Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton equal the Irish halfback partnership record previously held by Ronan O’Gara and Peter Stringer. The pair will lineout together for the 55th time on Saturday and Gerry Thornley has all of the details from the team announcement which sees Schmidt make 11 changes. For Samoa, Tim Nanai-Williams has shaken off a concussive blow to be named in the starting team. Don’t forget you can follow all of the build-up to Japan with columns, analysis, news, interviews, stats, fixtures and much more on our dedicated 2019 Rugby World Cup site.