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'I think it's an incredible call to be honest' - Suspect calls going Japan's way leading to speculation over objectivity for World Cup host

Japan has been the feel-good story of the World Cup so far, with the tier two nation sitting atop Pool A after three wins from three matches, including a mammoth upset over Ireland.

However, in the wake of the victories, the growing list of unhappy opposition coaches is growing at what seems to be building speculation that a ‘helping hand’ is propelling home side Japan towards a first quarter-final appearance.

After the infamous 19-12 win over Ireland, head coach Joe Schmidt was critical of the referees’ rulings around the ruck and offside officiating. Upon review, World Rugby confirmed that three of the four calls that went against Ireland were incorrectly made.

Samoa head coach was left baffled by the treatment of his players after a case of double standards after one of their players was unable to return from an HIA after a high shot from the Japanese. Flanker TJ Ioane received a yellow card for an earlier tackling infringement while Japan’s player was only penalised.

“I’m probably just as bewildered as most people,” coach Steve Jackson said after the match.

“I agree TJ’s (tackle) was late. But it was shoulder to the chest, then it is a shoulder to the head (against Nanai-Williams) and we lose a player after the HIA.

“I don’t take away anything from the Japan side but our players deserve better than that.”

Scotland’s coach Gregor Townsend is the latest coach to publicly air his concerns over calls going Japan’s way ahead of their crucial final pool-match on Sunday.

He says the host nation benefited from ‘an incredible call’ which lead to their bonus point try over Samoa moments later in injury time.

“I’ve never seen a crooked feed penalised, certainly at the World Cup or in the Six Nations,” said Townsend.

“I think it’s an incredible call, to be honest. It’s something that has not been refereed and there’s been an agreement that there is more latitude for scrum-halves putting the ball in because you are the team that’s won the scrum.

“To see it in a World Cup really surprised me. To see it as we went into injury time for a game-changing decision was an even bigger surprise.”

The online reaction to call was equally suspicious of the decision.

Scotland must secure a bonus-point win over Russia tomorrow to close the gap on Japan to a manageable four points going into their meeting in Yokohama, but could still miss out on the quarter-finals if the hosts get a losing bonus point on Sunday.

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'I think it's an incredible call to be honest' - Suspect calls going Japan's way leading to speculation over objectivity for World Cup host