The worst typhoon of the year is bearing down on Japan, but that hasn't stopped their rugby team from getting in one last training run ahead of their much-debated Rugby World Cup game against Scotland on Sunday night.
Typhoon Hagibis, closing in from the Pacific, is expected to bring up to 80 centimetres of rain in the Tokyo area, including Chiba to the north that had suffered power outages from a typhoon that hit last month, and some buildings remained partly repaired.
However, with it still up in the air as to whether their match against Scotland will go ahead, Japan still had to ensure their preparation went to plan, and they braved a flooded stadium tunnel and a drenched field in downtown Toyko to go through their final training.
Pictures and video from their captain's run show players wading through thigh-high waters to even get onto the ground at Prince Chichibu Stadium, with some players splashing their way through, others tiptoeing over benches (in rather close proximity to some thankfully switched-off electrical outlets), while lock James Moore opted to jump on the back of teammate Jiwon Koo.
"Japan team confirm this morning's gym session has been replaced with aquatics", joked one observer on Twitter, while another added "This is madness".
And, while the pitch was drenched, it wasn't as flooded as the tunnel, allowing the players to at least get in some training.
However, local reporters are saying the match against Scotland is "increasingly unlikely" to go ahead, a scenario that would likely leave Scotland to miss out on the quarter-finals.
The Scots haven't given up hope of having the game played at another venue without a crowd if World Cup organisers decide it's not safe enough to go ahead with the game at Yokohama. Organisers cancelled two games scheduled for Saturday, with three of those teams formally moving into the knockout stage and Italy missing out on last chance to qualify — albeit needing an upset win over the defending champion All Blacks to have any chance.
World Rugby investigated relocating those two games — at Yokohama and Toyota — to venues further away from the typhoon's path but said it wasn't logistically possible because of safety concerns.
If cancelled, the Scottish Rugby Union will hit World Rugby with a multi-million pound claim for damage, the Telegraph reported today.
Both sides were laying the ground for a bitter legal dispute on Friday night, with World Rugby saying it was "disappointed" Scotland had threatened action if Typhoon Hagibis does cause the cancellation of the winner-takes-all Pool A clash and claiming they had no basis on which to do so.
Mark Dodson, Scottish Rugby's chief executive, insisted his side would not be "collateral damage" while saying the tournament's integrity was at stake and his side would have been treated differently if they were the All Blacks.
World Rugby are set to make a decision tomorrow - with reports suggesting an inspection is planned for 6.00am Japan time on Sunday, and a decision possible by 8.00am (12pm NZT).
The game is scheduled to start at 7.45pm local time (11.45pm NZT), and a final decision must be made by - at latest - six hours before kick-off.
- With AP