Cape Town - Other major sports, like cricket, often ruefully know this much: you can’t control the weather.

So an extreme natural event like Super Typhoon Hagibis intruding on the Rugby World Cup in Japan cannot automatically be branded as something you can, or blithely should, “work around”.

In circumstances such as this, public safety is the No 1 priority.

The rugby becomes just what it is anyway: only a game.

I worked in Asia - Hong Kong, more specifically - for four years in the mid-1990s and quickly became accustomed, in season, to the very necessary typhoon warning system.

Major buildings, train and bus stations would exhibit prominent signs in the two or three days preceding one, indicating the anticipated strength, by a numbering system, of the approaching (or sometimes waning, or veering off elsewhere) wind- and rain-laden tempest.

If it did arrive in fullest ferocity, it was notably formidable - even to a Capetonian far from averse to howling summer south-easterly “Cape Doctors” (an annoying little breeze by comparison, believe me!) or strong, soaking winter storms.

You might wake up in Hong Kong after what had amounted overnight to the equivalent of an entire month (or even two’s) worth of mid-winter Western Cape precipitation in the space of a few hours and - living in the hilly New Territories, as I did - walk up to the road to find your passage wholly blocked by a massive, muddy landslide, rendering public transport inactive and forcing a phone call apologising for not making it into work that day.

It was completely understood; just a fact of life at certain times there, even as damage clear-up tended to be staggering rapid.

Typhoons are violent but usually short-lived, too.

This one in Japan demonstrating ominous signs of rare intensity, the RWC organisers have been forced into measures to minimise risk to life and limb.

Saturday so clearly appears to encompass the epicentre of the weather event around certain of Japan’s key metropolises and it has meant the cancellation - at this point - of two matches unlikely to impact final placings anyway in their respective pools.

While it is a shame that “Le Crunch” between cross-Channel adversaries England and France won’t now take place, both had happily already qualified for the quarter-finals and the game would really only have determined (it’s now confirmed as leaders England anyway) which of them tops the group.

That, you might well argue, is of reasonably limited relevance anyway: as we saw from the nerve-jangling bilateral meeting between them at the tournament, it’s a toss-up as to whether it’s better to play Wales or Australia in the QFs.

Then there’s the matter of the New Zealand v Italy now non-event.

You have to feel a certain sympathy for the Azzurri, who could still have sensationally eliminated the world champions with a really thumping win at the City of the Toyota Stadium.

But seeing that Italy hadn’t even come close to toppling the All Blacks in 14 prior meetings stretching back to 1987 - they now technically sport one “draw”, courtesy of the manufactured RWC stalemate - it is reasonably safe to assume the status quo (a wide-margin NZ triumph) would have occurred.

Of immeasurably greater concern, however, to the fairness and credibility of the current tournament is the in-the-balance fate of the so keenly anticipated Sunday “eliminator” in gripping Pool A between the host nation and form-gathering Scotland.

It almost feels like Japan’s very own final … and frankly every feasible, constructive step MUST be taken to ensure that if the Brave Blossoms are to admirably make the last-eight cut, it doesn’t come by glaringly hollow default.

Should the teams instead be awarded two points each for a “draw”, Japan will top the pool knowing that they did so without having shown yet that they can beat the Scots, who lead the historical head-to-head by a 7-0 margin.

But it would create the additionally undesirable situation - even if there won’t be too many grumbles in South Africa - of the All Blacks, who had won the seismic opener against the Springboks to supposedly tee up the “easier” quarter-final for them, instead probably getting Six Nations-based traditional modern toughies Ireland, and Rassie Erasmus’s charges meeting a Japanese side they whipped 41-7 just before RWC 2019 began.

That whole scenario would just leave a slightly undesirable taste in many mouths, planet-wide, among rugby aficionados.

One positive, looking at the long-range outlook on some trustier weather websites, is that ferocious winds and a startling more than 140mm of rain look destined to hit Yokohama between Friday and early Sunday morning ... but both abating enormously several hours before the conveniently night-time kick-off.

Even if the game, as presently scheduled, keeps looking too risky for staging in the coming day or two, the organisers and World Rugby would be doing the event no favours at all if it is also simply declared a no-result with two log points each, and Scotland go home pretty certainly the most disgruntled of all participating nations.

The clash has a massive bearing on RWC 2019 as a whole and, whether it is pushed back 24 hours, played indoors, elsewhere, or behind closed doors and still televised to the world, this one needs to happen!


*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing