The Pool B match between New Zealand and Italy and the Pool C match between England and France scheduled for Saturday, October 12 have been canceled due to the predicted impact of Typhoon Hagibis.
After extensive evaluation, World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee announced that the two Rugby World Cup 2019 pool matches scheduled to take place in Toyota city and Yokohama are canceled on safety grounds as Super Typhoon Hagibis is anticipated to cross the east coast of Japan around Saturday evening.
The Pool D match between Australia and Georgia scheduled in Shizuoka at 19:15 on Friday, 11 October will be played as scheduled, as will the Saturday, October 12 Pool A match between Ireland and Samoa scheduled in Fukuoka at 19:45.
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 Toyota City areas throughout Saturday, including likely public transport shutdown or disruption.
For matches that do not go ahead as scheduled, two points will be awarded to each team in line with tournament rules. This allows England to proceed to the quarter finals as group winners, and France in second. New Zealand will finish at the top of Pool B, while South Africa will finish in second. Italy will finish third, bringing an end to their World Cup journey.
Efforts are being made to ensure matches scheduled for Sunday, October 13, including the Japan vs Scotland game set for 19:45 in Yokohama, will be played as scheduled. A thorough assessment of venues will take place after the typhoon has passed before a final decision is made on Sunday morning.
If the Japan vs Scotland match is canceled, then Japan would qualify for the quarterfinals along with Ireland, and Scotland would be sent home.
“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,” said World Rugby Chief Operating Officer and Tournament Director Alan Gilpin in a released statement. “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.”
Gilpin added that ticket-holders for the canceled games are entitled to a full refund.
Based on the advice of government authorities and experts, World Rugby and the Japan Rugby Organising Committee are advising fans in the Tokyo, Yokohama and Toyota City areas to stay indoors on Saturday, not to travel and to keep monitoring the official Rugby World Cup 2019 digital and social channels, including the RWC 2019 Fan Information Twitter handle @Japan2019_ENG for regular updates.
Feature image by Clive Rose – World Rugby via Getty Images