Storm in a World Cup

Two hours ago in Japan the decision was taken to cancel this weekend’s Rugby World Cup matches between England and France and between Italy and New Zealand.

Ireland’s game against Samoa will proceed while an evaluation of the venues once Typhoon Hagibis has passed will take place as late as Sunday morning ahead of the games due to take place then including Scotland’s tie against Japan in Ireland’s group.

The decision has been after extensive evaluation and is based on the latest detailed information from the tournament’s independent weather experts.

What does it mean for the tournament?

In Ireland’s group if we win with a bonus point we will move onto 16 points.  If the Scotland Japan game is called off as has to be likely now, then Japan will also be on 16 points with Scotland eliminated on 12 points.

Ireland’s points difference will be vastly superior but that only counts in a three way tie.  In a regular tie between two it is the head to head which means Japan will win the group.

Over then to Pool B where the table has already been updated to show New Zealand given their two points from the called off game putting them on 16 with South Africa in second on 15.

It seems then almost certain that ireland will face New Zealand in Tokyo with an 1115 kick off on Saturday, October 19th.

In Pool C England have already been declared the winner with France in second.  If Wales beat Uruguay on Sunday they win Group D and face France in their Quarter Final. If Australia win their game this morning and Wales’ game is called off then there is no change as the two points they’d be given would put the sides level but with Wales having won the game between them.

In sport dead rubbers are anathema to organisers.  That though is what the weather has done in Japan.  Safety has to come first but what has seemed at times like a long stretch between games now becomes longer with the loss of momentum.

The Detail from Tokyo this Morning

In a statement just issued in Tokyo World Rugby have said that “Typhoon 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. This has been central in all decision-making in partnership with the tournament’s weather information experts, host cities, venues and teams.”

“The decision to cancel matches has not been taken lightly and has been made in the best interests of public, team, tournament personnel and volunteer safety, based on expert advice and detailed weather information. While we have extensively explored all options, public and team safety was our utmost priority as well as ensuring a consistent, fair and equitable outcome for all teams. All fans with tickets for a cancelled match will receive a full refund for the face value of their match tickets.”

“This is a complex and dynamic situation which we have been monitoring extremely closely with the assistance of our weather information experts,” said Alan Gilpin speaking to media.

“We are now in a position to accurately predict the likely impact of Typhoon Hagibis on Rugby World Cup fixtures this weekend.”

“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.”

Read More: Explore our daily coverage of Rugby World Cup 2019, in partnership with our friends at Bank of Ireland

Image Credit: World Rugby via Getty Images

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