Rugby World Cup 2019: World Rugby slams Scotland over legal threat

World Rugby has fired back at Scotland Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson, after he threatened legal action against the sport's governing body.

A war of words has broken out as Scotland's win-or-bust showdown with Japan on Sunday remains in doubt due to Super Typhoon Hagibis.

World Rugby has already cancelled two Saturday games and declared them a draw - a repeat would mean Scotland's exit from the competition.

Dodson has urged the global governing body to move the game to Monday, saying World Rugby would be risking the "sporting integrity" of the competition if it sticks to its decision the game must be played on Sunday or not at all.

But Dodson's words angered World Rugby, saying it was "disappointed" with his comments. 

World Rugby says the Scots happily agreed to the tournament's rules, which prohibit pool matches being rescheduled.

"It is disappointing that the Scottish Rugby Union should make such comments at a time when we are doing everything we can to enable all Sunday's matches to take place as scheduled, and when there is a real and significant threat to public safety owing to what is predicted to be one of the largest and most destructive typhoons to hit Japan since 1958," World Rugby said.

"Along with the 19 other teams, the Scottish Rugby Union signed the Rugby World Cup 2019 terms of participation, which clearly state in Section 5.3: Where a pool Match cannot be commenced on the day in which it is scheduled, it shall not be postponed to the following day, and shall be considered as cancelled.

"As outlined during Thursday's media conference in Tokyo, the core principle that could enable us to explore a departure from the terms of participation, is a fair and consistent application of the rescheduling for all teams in a safe environment for teams, fans and essential match services.

"The sheer predicted scale and impact of the typhoon, and the complexity of team movements for eight matches, meant that an even-handed application was just not possible without putting safety at risk. Therefore, it was the fair and correct decision for all teams to maintain the position outlined in the terms of participation.

"It would be inappropriate to make further comment at a time when we are fully focused on the safety of everyone and this weekend's matches."

Earlier, Dodson confirmed they would consider legal action should the match get cancelled. 

"My view is that we're not going to let Scotland be the collateral damage for a decision that was taken in haste," Dodson vowed.

"For World Rugby to state that the game has to be cancelled goes against the whole sporting integrity of the tournament. We have been preparing for this tournament now for four years.

"World Rugby seem to be determined to stick to its plan that the match is either played on Sunday or indeed it is cancelled, and to have it cancelled and have our ability to progress from this group put at peril, we believe is absolutely unacceptable."

World Rugby will announce at 12pm (NZ time) on Sunday whether the game will go ahead.

Tournament organisers will inspect the International Stadium in Yokohama. 

If the match is to go ahead, officials will then inspect the state of transport links to decide if it is safe for fans to attend. If not, the match will be played behind closed doors. 

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend is adamant the game will go ahead. 

"I am of the belief that game will go ahead," he said. "We have to get through tomorrow and the weather that is coming into this area.

"The weather for Sunday is very good. We have seen how this country has responded to big weather events and other natural disasters."

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