The continued uncertainty of whether Japan’s match against Scotland on Sunday will be cancelled leaves the Springboks and Ireland (and of course the All Blacks) in a land of uncertainty regarding their planning for next weekend’s quarterfinal.
As things currently stand, Japan are favourites to top Pool A to face the second-placed Pool B team South Africa, with the All Blacks playing Ireland. But there are more alternatives to that with pouring rain and continued wind making predictions impossible.
Ireland on Saturday confirmed their place in the quarterfinal when they beat Samoa 47-5. They secured a try bonus point despite having to play with 14 men for the last 52 minutes of the match following the red card to their centre Bundee Aki for a high tackle
♦ The uncertainty, however, remains whether Ireland will finish as top side in Pool A and whether Japan will play in the quarterfinal at all.
If Japan beat Scotland – assuming their match on Sunday will go ahead – the hosts will finish top of Pool A with Ireland second. But there are other external factors that could influence Ireland’s final position as winner or second-placed in the pool.
Ireland currently have 16 log points, followed by Japan (14 after three matches) and Scotland (10 from three matches)
Here are the possible outcomes about Sunday’s match, the kick-off dependent on an inspection and decision by about 02:00 SA time.
i A bonus point win for Scotland on Sunday while withholding Japan from one will place the Scots in second place in the pool with 15 points to Japan’s 14 in the pool.
ii Should Scotland defeat Japan with a bonus point Scotland on 15 log points will tie with Japan even if the latter gets a bonus point, which will see both sides on 15 log points. In that case Japan will be ousted as they were beaten by Scotland in the pool round in their match. (Points for and against do no come into play).
iii If Scotland win without a bonus point they will have 14 log points. Should they then prevent Japan from getting a bonus point, the two sides will be tied on 14 points.
In that case Japan will be ousted as they were beaten by Scotland in the pool round in their match. (Points for and against do no come into play).
iv Should the match be cancelled it will be declared a 0-0 draw with both Scotland and Japan receiving two log points. In that case Japan will equal Ireland on 16 log points but will be placed first, having beaten the Irish in the pool round.
v Should Japan beat Scotland, they will move to the top of the log with (depending on bonus points) 18 or 19 bonus points and top the pool, thereby relegating Ireland to second place.
vi And then there is, of course, also the possible scenario of a draw, which will also move Japan to first place on the pool even without a bonus point as the had beaten Ireland in the pool match.
One could also mention two bonus points, for tries and losing by seven points or less, that will influence the outcome!
♦ Meanwhile, organisers have now warned Namibia and Canada about the ‘potential of cancellation’ for their final pool game, which is set to take place at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium on Sunday (05:15 SA time).