BONUS BATTLE

The strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 60 years came and went yesterday, leaving destruction in its wake. After making landfall on the Izu peninsula, it moved up the main island before entering the sea again in Tohoku.

Flooding and landslides occurred in many places due to the intense rainfall, which caused rivers to burst their banks. Five people have already been confirmed to have lost their lives. The reason it is not many more is down to Japan’s familiarity with natural disasters and the measures they have taken to mitigate their impact.

One more rugby match has been cancelled. The Kumagaya stadium is located in a mountainous area, where landslides are still a real danger. For fan and player safety, that means the Namibians’ and Canadians’ World Cup has come to an early end, denying them both the chance of claiming a first tournament victory.

The other three matches scheduled for today will go ahead as planned.

In the first, the US will take on Tonga in Osaka with only pride on the line as they both seek their first win. After that, Wales require a victory over Uruguay in Kumamoto to top their group and seal a quarter-final against France rather than England.

Then it is the grand finale, the match that the group stage has been building towards. There is already a healthy dose of controversy surrounding it due to the Japan vs Samoa referee’s inexplicable decision to penalise Samoa for not feeding into the scrum straight, a practice which has gone unpunished for years.

This allowed Japan to take the bonus point that makes Scotland’s challenge today that much harder. Instead of merely requiring a win to finish ahead of Japan, they now need to ensure that they win by more than seven points or score four tries whilst stopping Japan doing the same.

Above all, I am hoping that the referee’s shocking call in the Samoa game is not the deciding factor.

There was a game yesterday on the island of Kyushu, far enough distant to be unaffected by the typhoon. Ireland made light of an early red card to cruise past Samoa and set up the scenario that will play out in Yokohama this evening.

Yesterday’s Match
Ireland 47-5 Samoa (Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka)

Today’s Matches
USA vs Tonga (1445 JST) (Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka)
Wales vs Uruguay (1715 JST) (Kumamoto Stadium, Kumamoto)
Japan vs Scotland (1945 JST) (International Stadium, Yokohama)

Expression of the day
無事です ! (buji desu)
Which means…
(We’re safe.)

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