Rugby World Cup 2019: Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has 'faith' in Japan game going ahead

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend is urging World Rugby to do everything possible to ensure their must-win Pool A clash against Japan goes ahead on Sunday.

World Rugby has already cancelled the All Blacks v Italy and England v France matches for Saturday because of Typhoon Hagibis, and on Sunday morning it will decide whether to call off Scotland v Japan. 

Townsend's side must defeat hosts Japan in Yokohama to have a chance of staying in the competition.

Scottish Rugby released a bold statement saying it expects "contingency plans" to be put in place, even if it means playing the match behind closed doors. 

"We believe that the game hasn't been cancelled because the weather will be better on Sunday and it looks like the game will be played," Townsend told reporters in Hamamatsu.

"That's what we have to put faith in, that they have made that call with a lot of certainty and confidence that the game will be played on Sunday night.

"The rules say you can't change the day, but you could change venues - contingencies would be in place. I have since been told there is force majeure, that things can change because of exceptional circumstances. 

"If that means Monday because it takes a day for things to be put back in order, then who knows. But just now I think they are planning for it to go ahead on Sunday."

Tournament regulations state that cancelled games are ruled a 0-0 draw, with two points going to each team, which would end Scotland's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

"I think there has to be a game," Townsend added. "The game looks likely to be on Sunday, according to what we are hearing.

"If that game is on Sunday at Yokohama, great. A lot of our fans will be at the game. I know there will be a lot of home fans as well - and what a spectacle it will be.

"It will make things very unusual for a World Cup in any sport to be decided by a game being called off on one day. Let's say if you are looking out your hotel window at five o'clock on Sunday afternoon and it is sunny, it would be quite strange if a game couldn't take place that day."

But with World Rugby having also called off New Zealand's clash with Italy - knocking the Azzurri out of the competition - it appears World Rugby is not willing to budge on their rules.

 "We've looked again at the potential to apply some consistent contingency plan across all the games that could be affected this weekend, but it's important we treat all those matches consistently and fairly," World Rugby tournament director Alan Gilpin said.

"I think it's important to remember Italy are in exactly the same position as Scotland are in.

"The Japan-Scotland game is clearly is a huge match, we'd love to be playing that game, and we'll be working incredibly hard with our colleagues from Japan Rugby 2019, the host cities and all the authorities on Sunday morning to see that match played.

"But we won't treat that match, if it can't be played, any differently to the other matches."

Italy captain Sergio Parisse was so furious with his team's cancellation he said that if the All Blacks were in their position, the game would have gone ahead. 

The team who finishes second in Pool A will face the All Blacks in the quarter-finals.

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The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

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