Mako Vunipola Rugby World Cup 2019: World Rugby investigating Scotland over lawsuit threat as governing body hits back at ‘unfounded’ criticism

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The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) is being investigated by World Rugby for proposing legal action following suggestions Scotland’s Pool A showdown with Japan could be abandoned after coming under from Typhoon Hagibis.

This comes as World Rugby hit back at the “unfounded” and “disappointing” criticism that the organisation was influenced by member unions regarding its refusal to reschedule last weekend’s cancelled matches.

The closing stages of the Rugby World Cup played out against a backdrop of controversy as Typhoon Hagibis, the strongest storm to hit Japan in decades, threatened to derail the tournament.

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Three games were cancelled over the weekend – England vs France, New Zealand vs Italy and later Canada vs Namibia – while concerns were raised that Sunday’s finale in Yokohama would be scraped as the threat and scale of Hagibis intensified in the days before kick-off.

Although the match was given the green light, with Japan prevailing 28-21 over Scotland, the SRU suggested beforehand it could pursue legal action in the eventuality the fixture was abandoned and not rescheduled – thereby denying Gregor Townsend’s men the opportunity to secure qualification to the quarter-finals.

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Under competition rules, a match which “cannot be commenced on the day in which it is scheduled… shall not be postponed to the following day, and shall be considered as cancelled.” And upon announcing its decision to call off England vs France and New Zealand vs Italy, World Rugby insisted it stood in “accordance with what we said we would do before the tournament.”

At the time, SRU chief executive Mark Dodson said he would not allow Scotland to become the World Cup’s “collateral damage”, adding

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