The deadline for the SRU’s forced apology to World Rugby – for having the temerity to publicly request last month that the global governing body look at relocating Scotland’s crucial World Cup pool match against host nation Japan if Typhoon Hagibis rendered the Yokohama Stadium unplayable – slipped by yesterday morning without, or so it seems, a peep of contrition emerging from Murrayfield.

That doesn’t mean that chief executive Mark Dodson, chief operating officer Dominic McKay and the rest of the Scottish Rugby Board are unconcerned about the situation.

They are deeply troubled by World Rugby’s very deliberate – and cynical – attempts to conflate their desire to get the match played with a lack of empathy for the human suffering caused by the storm, and by the suggestion that this whole sorry affair has tarnished the relationship with Japan which they have worked hard for several years to develop.

The timing of the leaked news last week that Scotland will play Japan in a 2020 Autumn Test match is not coincidental. It nicely teed-up an SRU press release with some well-chosen words highlighting “the long-standing relationship between the two nations, further underpinned by a strategic alliance signed with the city of Nagasaki in 2016”, and also allowed the SRU to remind us that the Japanese Women’s team is playing Scotland at Scotstoun later this month as further evidence of the strong bond.

The SRU top brass are also clearly worried about how an ongoing dispute with World Rugby – especially if it goes all the way to the Court of Arbitration in Sport [CAS] – will play out with the rank-and-file membership of the Scottish game. That’s why Dodson took the unusual step of having a personal letter distributed to all member clubs yesterday afternoon in which he provided an “update” on the situation.

“We have been determined throughout to stand up for Scottish Rugby’s best interests in the face of puzzling activities by World Rugby,” he assured the reader.

“We all have a duty to defend the integrity of Scottish Rugby and our teams, and therefore we explored all options in defence of our objectives at the time, utmost of which was the safety of local people and visitors to Japan and ensuring the Japan v Scotland match took place in a safe environment.

“Our options following the determination, may include exploring taking matters to the Court of Arbitration in Sport.”

Dodson then stressed that Scottish Rugby’s relationship with Japan has “never been stronger”, provided links to a couple of supportive online articles and signed off by stating that he was pleased to have received “positive and timely support” from the other Six Nations countries.

It is difficult to gauge the temperature of public opinion on this one. It feels like most Scottish rugby supporters think Dodson did what needed to be done against an obstinate World Rugby who were cold shouldering quiet diplomacy, but there is a sizeable minority – largely consisting of entrenched critics of Dodson – who will argue until they are blue in the face that the chief executive has brought shame on the nation by foregoing private negotiation to appeal to the masses.

In fairness to Dodson, his performance at the press conference was nowhere near as bombastic as has been suggested in some quarters. I’ve seen his bull-in-a-china-shop routine first hand. I have criticised it more than most. I was in the room that day and this was not one of those outbursts. It is safe to assume that deep down he was seething, but he did a pretty decent job of keeping it civil and constructive.

It feels like Dodson and the SRU are in a Sophie’s Choice scenario. They can pay the £70,000 fine, apologise and bring to an end this particular face-off, then hope to minimise the reputational and commercial damage of being cast as the bad guys who put their own selfish interests ahead of a genuine human disaster. Or they can fight it all the way and hope that those in Scotland who have supported their stance so far don’t start to question whether this has become a damaging sideshow which is wasting valuable time and resource.

It is times like this that you find out who your friends are. The notoriously combative Dodson could end up paying the price for past sins.