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SCOTLAND coach Gregor Townsend today admitted he was stunned by the late scrum penalty handed to Japan against Samoa on Saturday, which means the World Cup hosts could still progress from Pool A even if they lose Sunday’s crucial showdown with the Scots.
Japan secured a bonus point in Saturday’s 38-19 win when they scored a stoppage-time try — after Samoa were pulled up for a rarely questioned crooked put-in at the scrum by South African referee Jaco Peyper.
Japan’s extras mean Scotland could take maximum points from their final two Pool A clashes against Russia — who they face on Wednesday — and Japan but still crash out if the hosts were to secure two losing bonus points of their own.
Townsend described it as “an incredible call” and complained that it hadn’t been referred for review, despite contravening usual refereeing conventions at the scrum.
He said: “To see it in the World Cup really surprised me. To see it come in added-on time was an even bigger surprise. It was a call I’ve not seen for a long time in the game.”
Scotland’s fate remains in the balance, but they could yet be given a helping hand from Mother Nature.
World Rugby says it is monitoring a typhoon that could hit Japan on Saturday and potentially stop Ireland’s quarter-final bid in its tracks.
Forecasts suggest Typhoon Hagibis could hit the island of Kyushu this weekend. Ireland face Samoa in the Kyushu city of Fukuoka on Saturday, where Joe Schmidt’s men need a bonus-point victory to seal their place in the last eight.
Any games cancelled at the World Cup due to weather problems are registered as scoreless draws — meaning Scotland and Japan could yet find themselves progressing at Ireland’s expense.
World Rugby has said it’s adamant to host the game despite any weather problems, even if it has to move the venue or date.
And Townsend insists his side will have to get to the knock-out stages under their own steam regardless of the weather situation.
He said: “My first thought was that it was called Typhoon Haggis, obviously it’s not.
“A couple have already skipped past Japan, but this could come into play over the weekend.”
But he said: “Listen, we have to win our next two games to qualify. That would not change if the Ireland and Samoa game ended up in a draw,” he said.
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