RUGBY WORLD CUP MATCHES CANCELLED AS TYPHOON HAGIBIS LOOMS
World Rugby has cancelled two RUGBY WORLD CUP fixtures this weekend, as JAPAN prepares to be hit by a violent typhoon.
With meteorologists predicting TYPHOON HAGIBIS’ trajectory to pass over TOKYO on Saturday and Sunday, rugby’s governing body has opted to call off ENGLAND’S Pool C decider against FRANCE and NEW ZEALAND’S Pool B match against Italy, citing safety concerns.
SCOTLAND’S hopes of reaching the quarter-finals in JAPAN are also in jeopardy, with a decision still to be taken on whether their game against the hosts will go ahead on Sunday (October 13).
JAPAN currently top Pool A after recording a stunning victory against IRELAND last week, but the SCOTTISH could still progress with a bonus point win and a better head-to-head record.
Should World Rugby postpone the match – which they can do up to six hours prior to kick-off – both teams would be awarded two points for a 0-0 draw under tournament rules, seeing Japan through to the last eight, and Scotland heading home.
ENGLAND and FRANCE sit first and second in Pool C, having already qualified, while ITALY’S slim hopes of progressing rested on a DAVID VERSUS GOLIATH victory against the ALL BLACKS.
TYPHOON HAGIBIS’ predicted path sees it passing over Tokyo, where ENGLAND were due to face FRANCE, on Saturday (October 12) and WORLD RUGBY claim it is a risk they aren’t prepared to take.
Earlier today, winds of 160 miles per hour were recorded, the equivalent of a category five hurricane.
World Rugby said: “Based on the latest detailed information from the tournament’s independent weather experts, Hagibis is predicted to be the biggest typhoon of the 2019 season and is highly likely to cause considerable disruption in the Tokyo, Yokohama and City of Toyota areas throughout Saturday, including likely public transport shutdown or disruption.
“As a result, World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee have taken the difficult, but right decision to cancel matches in the affected areas on safety grounds.
“The impacted teams have been informed and are understanding.
“For matches that do not go ahead as scheduled, two points will be awarded to each team in line with tournament rules.
“It is an exceptional, complex and rapidly evolving situation and team and public safety is the number one priority.”
Tomorrow’s Pool D match between AUSTRALIA and GEORGIA in FUKUROI CITY and IRELAND’S Pool A match against SAMOA in Fukuoka on Saturday are due to go ahead as scheduled.
Organisers will be desperate for the impact to be as minimal as possible, with many having questioned the decision to award JAPAN the tournament in the first place, considering it was during typhoon season.
Sunday’s Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at SUZUKA is also under threat.