World Rugby has to report the latest unwanted adjustment to its plans for the 2021 World Cup.
Neither Hong Kong nor Samoa find themselves able to make the trip to Dubai to compete for the last qualifying place. That leaves Colombia and Kazakhstan as the two nations left standing. They will compete on 19 February for the right to face Scotland a week later.
Even this match-up must be vulnerable to last-minute failure, as Covid-19 enjoys playing hurtful tricks. But we must hope that both squads are allowed to make their arduous journeys to the UAE to fulfil long-held dreams. They represent two ends of the RWC spectrum: the Kazakhs have been present at no fewer than six final stages; Las Tucanes are the new kids on the block.
As things stand, one of the two squads may be setting a new world record for the distance travelled to play a single match. It’s 13,638 km from Colombia to pitch-side!