Bad blood fuels Japan’s ‘ripper’ clash with Scots

TOKYO: An angry war of words between Japan and Scotland has injected an element of needle into today’s typhoon-threatened Rugby World Cup clash in Yokohama.

Furious at threats of a formal Scottish protest if the crunch Pool A clash is cancelled, Japan coach Jamie Joseph felt the hosts had been disrespected, fuming that talk of legal action “undermined the achievements” of his side.

His opposite number, Gregor Townsend, hit back by saying he “had a good laugh” at the former All Black’s comments, which were made with the help of prepared notes before he named his Japan side.

“I’d like to remind everybody it hasn’t been a fluke,” growled Joseph, referring to Japan’s perfect record after three pool fixtures.

“Everyone in our squad wants to play the Test match,” he added, before the biggest game in Japanese rugby history.

“It’s important for us to wake up on Monday morning and understand we are a worthy top-eight team.”

But Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson insisted Scotland would not become “collateral damage” from a violent typhoon that wiped out England v Italy and New Zealand v Italy on Saturday for safety reasons.

Dodson called on World Cup organisers to take a “common-sense approach” by moving today’s game to Monday if necessary, rather than sticking to the protocol of calling it off and declaring the result a 0-0 draw.  AFP