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Japan-Scotland Rugby World Cup game to go ahead

A third Rugby World Cup game in Japan was canceled before organizers decided it safe enough for the tournament host to play Scotland at Yokohama on Sunday, a night after a devastating typhoon left at least four people dead and 17 missing.
Rugby World Cup organizers made the decision at 6 a.m. local time to cancel the last Pool B game between Canada and Namibia, which was set to be played at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium. An evacuation order remained in place in the area and there had been landslides and flooding near the stadium in northeastern Japan.
World Rugby an hour later confirmed the U.S.-Tonga game at Hanazono Stadium in Osaka and the Wales-Uruguay game at Kumamoto had been given the all clear, but took several more hours to make the decision on the crucial Pool A game between Japan and Scotland.
The last of the 40 group-stage matches, it is also a quarterfinal decider. Scotland needs a win to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages, and had threatened to sue organizers if the game was canceled. Japan needed only to avoid defeat to secure a spot in the knockout stages for the first time.
Two of Saturday's three scheduled games were canceled two days before the destructive typhoon made landfall south of Tokyo and moved northward. More than 100 people were also injured in its wake, according to public broadcaster NHK, as the numbers kept growing.
Japan's unbeaten run through the pool stage, including a comeback win over an Irish team that was ranked No. 1 ahead of the tournament, has captured the country's imagination. Head coach Jamie Joseph said his team wanted the game to go ahead just as much as Scotland did, so it could prove it belonged among the eight best teams in the sport.
While the New Zealand-Italy and England-France games were canceled without much backlash, Scottish rugby officials exerted more pressure on organizers after expressing frustration that there hadn't been enough contingency built into the schedule to cater for the potentially extreme conditions in the first Rugby World Cup staged in Asia.
World Rugby issued a statement saying the comprehensive assessment of the venue and infrastructure was done in partnership with government agencies.


Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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