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RWC war of words breaks out as World Rugby retorts Scotland's legal threats over possible cancellation of decisive game

World Rugby and the Scottish Rugby Union are locked in a war of words after SRU chief executive Mark Dodson threatened legal action over the sport's governing body.

Desperate Scotland officials have urged Rugby World Cup bosses to see sense and push their win-or-go-home showdown with hosts Japan a day later in order to keep out of Typhoon Hagibis' path of destruction.

The super storm could force the cancellation of Scotland's decisive Pool A clash with the hosts on Sunday which would knock Gregor Townsend's team out of the tournament.

Dodson wants the game pushed back 24 hours, claiming World Rugby will risk the "sporting integrity" of the tournament if they stick to their decision that the game must be played tomorrow or not at all.

Now Dodson is hinting at legal action if he's not heard.

"As it stands World Rugby are still maintaining the position that if the game can't take place on Sunday, there will be a cancellation," Dodson said.

"We engaged with World Rugby as soon as we knew this would be a possibility on Wednesday night.

"We took legal advice that challenged the view, and then we got a QC from a leading sports practice in London, Nick DeMarco, and he backed the fact there is flexibility in the schedule.

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The 61-0 victory in Shizuoka sees Scotland stay in the mix to advance. Source: Spark Sport RWC

"The last thing we want to do is get tied up in legal matters. There is now a legal opinion that supports our view there is flexibility on the scheduling.

"We don't want to criticise World Rugby, they're running a first-class tournament, and I'm convinced they'll do everything they can to get this game played on Sunday, and the weather at the moment looks like it's slightly improving.

"But there's something that just doesn't feel right about not fulfilling the final game and Scotland, or anyone else in fact, exiting the competition.

"What we're asking for is a common-sense approach that allows this game to be played in perfect safety 24 hours after the storm clears."

Read more on Scotland v Japan situation here:

Dodson's words have sparked an angry response from World Rugby, who said they were "disappointed" with the comments after insisting Scotland were happy to sign up to the rules before the tournament.

Tournament organisers insisted the SRU were happy to sign up to the World Cup's "terms of participation" - which sets out the ban on rescheduling pool matches - before the tournament kicked-off.

In a statement, the governing body said: "It is disappointing that the Scottish Rugby Union should make such comments at a time when we are doing everything we can to enable all Sunday's matches to take place as scheduled.

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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

"When there is a real and significant threat to public safety owing to what is predicted to be one of the largest and most destructive typhoons to hit Japan since 1958."

"The core principle that could enable us to explore a departure from the terms of participation, is a fair and consistent application of the rescheduling for all teams in a safe environment for teams, fans and essential match services.

"The sheer predicted scale and impact of the typhoon, and the complexity of team movements for eight matches, meant that an even-handed application was just not possible without putting safety at risk.

"Therefore, it was the fair and correct decision for all teams to maintain the position outlined in the terms of participation."

The 1,400km-wide Hagibis has already forced the cancellation of England v France and New Zealand v Italy - ending the Azzurri's faint hopes of reaching the last eight - on Saturday and World Rugby say it would not be fair to bend the rules for the Scots.

SRU Chief Executive Mark Dodson during a RWC press conference. Source: Getty