IRELAND’S CRUCIAL Rugby World Cup clash with Samoa has been thrown into doubt with the news that a super typhoon has been forecast to hit Fukuoka next weekend.
Joe Schmidt’s side need a win as well as a bonus point to guarantee their progress to the knockout phase of the competition in Japan.
They are scheduled to face already-eliminated Samoa at the Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium on Saturday, October 12.
However, forecasts indicate that Typhoon Hagibis could hit the city on the northern shore of Japan’s Kyushu Island over the same weekend.
In the event of adverse weather conditions, Ireland’s game against Samoa could be called off.
Under World Cup rules, any game cancelled in these circumstances is treated as a 0-0 draw with both teams receiving a single point.
That result would leave Ireland two points off pool leaders Japan.
It would also open the door for a scenario whereby Scotland and Japan could qualify for the quarter-finals at the expense of Ireland.
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Scotland would need to beat both Russia and Japan in order to leapfrog Ireland into second.
They could also top the group should they also claim a bonus point against either side.
Scotland and Japan face either other at International Stadium Yokohama on Sunday, October 13, with the Brave Blossoms hoping to make history.
Anything but a defeat will see Japan qualify for the last eight though they could progress without kicking a ball should Ireland’s game with Samoa be called off.
Ireland’s fate remains very much in their hands – provided they make it onto the pitch.
Rory Best and Co. can secure qualification with a win and bonus point against Samoa.
That said a victory without a bonus point would also most likely be enough to progress given their superior points difference total compared with Scotland.