UPDATE: Scotland responds to disrepute charges

Rugby World Cup
Reuters.
by Reuters

UPDATE: The Scottish Rugby Union have responded to World Rugby's decision to issue it with misconduct charges over comments made by CEO Mark Dodson.

A statement released on Wednesday said the union was questioning the necessity to bring about the charges but looked forward to a fair hearing.

“Scottish Rugby once again expresses its sincere condolences to the people of Japan and all those affected by Typhoon Hagibis which struck last weekend," the statement read.

"We have been able to convey our best wishes directly to the Mayor of Yokohama and the Chairman of the Japanese Rugby Union. We stand with the great people of Japan.

“Following receipt of correspondence yesterday from World Rugby, Scottish Rugby confirms that it has received a notice of complaint from Rugby World Cup Ltd. Scottish Rugby is querying whether the matter is an appropriate one for the bringing of Misconduct charges.

"If Misconduct proceedings are to proceed, Scottish Rugby looks forward to receiving a fair hearing in this matter. No further comment would be appropriate at this time."

The scratching of Sunday's match in Yokohama due to Typhoon Hagibis would have eliminated the Scots from the tournament and SRU chief Mark Dodson threatened legal action to enforce a postponement.

Dodson had also said organisers would have taken action to ensure the match went ahead if it had involved world champions New Zealand, comments which could lead to a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

"Under our tournament rules, we're very careful that people behave appropriately and as a result of that we've referred to independent disputes committee the behaviour and comments of the Scottish Rugby Union," tournament director Alan Gilpin told a news conference.

Scotland were gutted after losing their final pool match. Photo: Getty ImagesIn the event, the match went ahead just a few hours after the typhoon ripped through Tokyo, with the host nation winning 28-21 to qualify for the quarter-finals and send the Scots home.

Gilpin hailed the work of the organising committee and local governments for getting the match on and the 67,666 crowd safely in and out of the stadium so quickly after the worst typhoon to hit the region in decades.

"Putting any match on is an incredibly complex task on that scale but to do so in those circumstances is remarkable," he added.

"We know they are remarkable, which is why we had a high degree of optimism that we could get this done."

Three matches on the final weekend of the pool did fall victim to the weather and Japan Rugby Chief Executive Akira Shimazu said that was a matter of regret.

"It gave us a lot of sadness and we would like to sincerely apologise for that," he said.

World Rugby said Asia's first World Cup continued to break records with 1.8 million tickets sold - 99% of those available - 863,000 people crowding into fan zones and 200,000 Japan team replica shirts sold.

Chief executive Brett Gosper said the Japan television audience for Sunday's match was tracking to exceed the 50 million mark - a first for a rugby game.