Scottish Rugby: Scotland to face Japan after World Cup exit

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland
Mark Dodson
The SRU are awaiting the result of a misconduct charge relating to Mark Dodson's comments

Scottish Rugby has secured two Tests against Japan as they await the result of a World Rugby misconduct charge.

Gregor Townsend's men will host Japan at Murrayfield in November 2020, with the women's sides meeting at Scotstoun this month.

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson's comments on the potential cancellation of the tie with the World Cup hosts in October are being looked at by an independent disputes committee.

A sanction is expected imminently.

Dodson said Scotland's governing body had consulted lawyers about the game in Yokohama being called off because of Typhoon Hagibis.

Scotland had to win the match to stand any chance of progressing from the pool stage - and a cancellation would have seen the result recorded as a draw and Townsend's side eliminated. But the match did go ahead, with Japan winning 28-21.

"World Rugby have pointed us back to the participation agreement and that it is clearly stated there," Dodson said.

"We've had a legal opinion and then we've taken a leading sports QC opinion in London that challenges that and unravels the World Rugby case."

There is a view among certain powerbrokers in World Rugby that the SRU were insensitive towards Japan around the storm, with the game's governing body issuing a statement two days before the match with a thinly veiled criticism of comments made by Dodson.

The SRU may argue that these fixtures against Japan illustrate a burgeoning relationship between the two countries.

The meeting at Murrayfield will be the fifth in five years; they played each other at the World Cup in 2015.

"The strong relationship is built on hundreds of years of historic trade and commerce and it's fantastic that this can continue through our sport," Dodson said after the matches were confirmed.

"Japan have been outstanding hosts of Rugby World Cup 2019 and it will be an honour to host them next November and continue to build on the strong ties between our two nations."

There is also a chance Scotland may play Japan again in a Europe-based triangular tournament in the summer of 2021, possibly also involving Georgia and Romania.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Scotland will play two Tests in South Africa and one in New Zealand in summer 2020, with venues to be announced at a later date.

A further two Autumn Tests will be announced shortly.

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