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What every Japan v Scotland outcome does for the RWC - and who the All Blacks get

With Typhoon Hagibis causing chaos at the Rugby World Cup, it can be fairly easy to lose track of how the knockout stages of this year's tournament are shaping up - and what the All Blacks' path to a potential third-consecutive title will look like.

Source: 1 NEWS

World Rugby announced yesterday that two matches have been cancelled - England v France and Italy v New Zealand - and, despite Sergio Parisse's complaints, they have little effect on Pool B and C.

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Saturday's match against Italy has been abandoned due to Typhoon Hagibis. Source: 1 NEWS

Pool D is also effectively set in stone with Wales and Australia making it through unless Wales suffers a massive upset to Uruguay on Sunday.

But it's a different Sunday fixture - Scotland v Japan - that has the potential to cause as much havoc as Hagibis with all its possible outcomes, and with the All Blacks facing the second seed from that wild Pool A plenty of attention needs to be paid to it.

So let's break down how that one Test in Yokohama will shape this year's quarter-finals.

Please note, these upcoming outcomes are going on the assumption Ireland beat Samoa in Saturday's only match. If they lose, then Japan has to win in order for Joe Schmidt's men to make it through as the second seed or else Scotland will win the group and Japan will be second.

The Golden Rule

Before all this begins, there's a little known rule that needs to be addressed that could play a huge role in the shaping of Pool A.

Official Rugby World Cup law states that shold two teams be tied in a group at the end of the pool phase, the winner of the match between those two sides shall be ranked higher.

Keep that in mind going forward.

Pool A as it stands

To best understand how Pool A could look, it's best to understand how it looks currently:

Pool A heading into the final weekend of pool play at the 2019 RWC. Source: The Front Row

Japan sit on top with 14 points on three wins and no losses with two bonus points.

Ireland are second with 11 points on two wins and one loss with three bonus points.

Scotland are third with 10 points on two wins and one loss with two bonus points.

Teams earn four points for a win and can earn bonus points for either scoring four tries in a match or losing by less than seven points.

With Ireland heavy favourites to beat Samoa on Saturday, they are expected to earn a bonus point win and move to 16 points overall - two clear of Japan and an unreachable six points ahead of Scotland.

With that in mind, lets look at how the Pool could finish off looking under different circumstances.

Scotland wins

All Blacks play: Scotland [most of the time]

Funnily enough, there is a world in which Scotland win on Sunday and are still knocked out by Japan.

That'll happen if Scotland fail to secure the four-try bonus point while Japan secures a bonus point for losing by seven or less, which is completely possible if the game boils down to a low-scoring, tightly-fought contest in wet conditions.

If that happens, Japan will finish second one point behind Ireland but one point ahead of Scotland, setting them up for a clash with the All Blacks.

There's also the unlikely world in which Scotland earns that bonus point but Japan earn two of their own by, once again, losing by seven or less but scoring four tries as they do so.

Should that result somehow come to fruition, Japan will be tied with Ireland on sixteen points and thanks to the golden rule will go through as the top seed, sending Ireland to play the All Blacks.

Outside those two results however, a victorious Scotland will march on to the quarter-finals and knock out the Brave Blossoms for a second-straight World Cup, but will then have to face the All Blacks themselves.

Japan wins

All Blacks play: Ireland

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A win against Scotland on Saturday would see Japan make the quarter-finals for the first time in history. Source: 1 NEWS

Things are a lot simpler if Japan go undefeated in pool play.

Japan will finish top of Pool A, Ireland will be second and Scotland will go home. The score doesn't matter and neither do any bonus points.

Simple.

Typhoon Hagibis wins

All Blacks play: Ireland

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The 1 NEWS team in Japan explains what today's bombshell means for New Zealand's chance at a three-peat. Source: 1 NEWS

If Scotland's threats don't work and World Rugby cancels the game to protect everyone from Typhoon Hagibis, Japan and Scotland will both take two points from the fixture.

This would see Scotland knocked out but Japan would move to 16 points and be tied with Ireland.

That would mean that, once again, the golden rule comes in to play and because of their upset win earlier in the tournament, the Brave Blossoms would send Ireland to play the All Blacks while they host South Africa.