Two Rugby World Cup games cancelled due to incoming Typhoon Hagibis

Two Rugby World Cup games cancelled due to incoming Typhoon Hagibis

World Rugby have taken a decision to cancel two Rugby World Cup matches scheduled on Saturday in Toyota and Yokohama due to safety concerns around Typhoon Hagibis

Typhoon Hagibis
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens

The storm is ploughing its way through the Pacific Ocean and is being tracked on a crash course for Yokohama and Tokyo on Saturday, with the City of Toyota expected to be affected by heavy rains as well.

The Typhoon has gathered strength and has been rated as the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane with wind speeds in excess of 250km/h. Earlier this week, the storm intensified at a rapid rate as air pressure sharply plummeted at the centre of the storm over a 24 hour period.

Various news outlets are reporting that storm will drop in intensity as it nears Japan but local authorities are still expecting serious weather conditions. People in Tokyo and Yokohama have been advised to stay indoors on Saturday and there is talk of public transport systems being shut down completely.

As a result World Rugby has decided to cancel two matches in Yokohama and Toyota - New Zealand vs Italy in Toyota and England vs France in Yokohama.

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In line with tournament rules, both teams will walk away from the clashes with two log points and the results does not affect the pool standings of either teams. The All Blacks still top Pool B while England and France will retain their number one and two spots in Pool C respectively.

Sunday’s matches cleared for now

Sunday’s matches are expected to go ahead as scheduled at this point. World Rugby will undertake thorough examinations of the match venues early on Sunday before making any calls on the outcomes of the games. 

The outcome of Sunday’s games have far more serious ramifications. The Japan vs Scotland will directly affect which team’s progress to the quarterfinals.

If the game is ruled as a draw, Japan and Ireland will progress to the quarterfinals and Scotland will be out of the competition. 

World Rugby urge fans and public to stay indoors on Saturday

Given the severity of the looming storm, World Rugby has implored fans and residents in Japan not to travel on Saturday and stay indoors.

World Rugby Chief Operating Officer and Tournament Director Alan Gilpin said the organisers have done their utmost to ensure the most favourable outcomes for teams while putting the safety of people as the top priority.

“This is a complex and dynamic situation which we have been monitoring extremely closely with the assistance of our weather information experts. We are now in a position to accurately predict the likely impact of Typhoon Hagibis on Rugby World Cup fixtures this weekend,” Gilpin said.

“While making every possible effort to put in place a contingency plan that would enable all of Saturday’s matches to be played, it would be grossly irresponsible to leave teams, fans, volunteers and other tournament personnel exposed during what is predicted to be a severe typhoon.

“As a result, we have taken the decision to cancel some matches in order to ensure the safety of all involved. It is the right thing to do, and comes with the support of all stakeholders, including the teams.

“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.

“Our message for all fans in Japan for Rugby World Cup is to heed all official advice, stay indoors throughout Saturday and do not attempt to travel on the day.”

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