For the first time in Rugby World Cup history a game will be cancelled – with England’s clash against France in Yokohama being abandoned due to a looming typhoon, the Daily Mail reports.
Typhoon Hagibis could hit Japan on Saturday, when three matches are scheduled. Four more are set for Sunday, the final day of the preliminary round. The latest path for the typhoon is set to hit Yokohama, Tokyo and the City of Toyota over the weekend.
World Rugby have yet to make an official statement, however the British newspaper is reporting that the game between the two top sides in group C will be cancelled and recorded as a 0-0 draw.
World Rugby are set to make a call on the status of the weekend’s games at 4pm NZT.
In an email to rights holding broadcasters – including NZME’s Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB – World Rugby says the typhoon is due to hit Tokyo, Yokohama and City of Toyota areas.
Games in those cities over the weekend include England v France, Japan v Samoa and All Blacks v Italy.
“World Rugby has been exploring every possible contingency within a complex and rapidly-evolving environment to ensure a fair opportunity for all matches to be played,” the email said.
“Team and pubic safety is the primary consideration and no decision will be made that endangers safety.
“By tomorrow morning, World Rugby is confident that they will have accurate information to make an informed decision regarding impact.”
If the England-France game is cancelled it would be the first time in the 32-year history of the tournament.
The match between the two Six Nations rivals is set to take place on Saturday in Yokohama City. If it is abandoned it would mean England will finish top of the group with 17 points and likely play Australia in the quarter-finals. France would end up in second and most likely play Wales who lead Pool D.
Japan’s crucial Pool A game against Scotland at the same ground 24 hours later will decide whether the hosts will qualify for the quarter-finals.
The All Blacks’ final pool game against Italy is to be played in Toyota City which is on the edge of the predicted path of the typhoon.