World Rugby has cancelled the All Blacks game against Italy in Toyota City on Saturday due to Super Typhoon Hagibis, which is set to batter Yokohama and nearby Tokyo with 270kmh winds.
Hagibis, which has been gaining force over the Pacific, is expected to make landfall on the main islands of Kyushi, Shikoku and Honshu in Japan at the weekend.
New Zealand and Italy – who have never beaten the All Blacks – will be awarded two competition points each.
England versus France has also been cancelled, leaving England top of their pool. It is the first time in 32-years of World Cups that any game has been cancelled.
The All Blacks will now finish at the top of their pool on 15 points, one ahead of South Africa, who they beat 23-13 on the first weekend of the RWC.
As the top qualifier of their pool, the All Blacks will face the Pool A runner-up. Ireland, Scotland and Japan are vying for the top spots in that pool.
France v England in Yokohama has also been cancelled. Cancelled games are regarded as scoreless draws with both teams taking two points.
Typhoon Hagibis reached super typhoon status in just 18 hours and is due to hit Japan on Saturday.
In an email to rights holding broadcasters, World Rugby says the typhoon is due to hit Tokyo, Yokohama and City of Toyota areas.
The decision to cancel the two games would not adversely affect the tournament as New Zealand, England and France would all still make the quarterfinals. South Africa will be the other team to qualify from Pool B.
However, Scotland’s decider against Japan is expected to go ahead in Yokohama 24 hours later, an England source has told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Japan will qualify top of the group should they win with Ireland in second place.
Hagibis is predicted to be the biggest typhoon of the 2019 season and was deemed highly likely to cause considerable disruption in the Tokyo, Yokohama and City of Toyota areas, including likely public transport shutdown or disruption, World Rugby said.
As a result, World Rugby and the organising committee opted to cancel matches in the affected areas on safety grounds.
“It is an exceptional, complex and rapidly evolving situation and team and public safety is the No 1 priority,” World Rugby said.
“This has been central in all decision-making in partnership with the tournament’s weather information experts, host cities, venues and teams.”
Games looked at:
Friday: Australia and Georgia in Shizuoka, played as scheduled.
Saturday: Ireland and Samoa in Fukuoka, played as scheduled; New Zealand and Italy cancelled; England and France cancelled.
As for Sunday’s games, which include the crucial Japan v Scotland encounter, “every effort is being made to ensure (they) will be played as scheduled”.
A final decision will be made on Sunday morning, World Rugby said.
Fans in the affected areas were advised to stay indoors on Saturday.
World Rugby chief operating officer and tournament director Alan Gilpin said “it would be grossly irresponsible to leave teams, fans, volunteers and other tournament personnel exposed during what is predicted to be a severe typhoon”.
“We fully appreciate that England, France, New Zealand and Italy fans will be disappointed, but we trust they will appreciate that their safety must come first. They will be entitled to a full refund on their match tickets.”
Source link : https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/rugby-world-cup/rwc-2019-japan/116469539/rugby-world-cup-all-blacks-v-italy-game-to-be-called-off-due-to-typhoon
Publish date : 2019-10-10 03:56:00