Japan Typhoon and Rugby World Cup 2019: What happens if England and Scotland fixtures are cancelled?

Evening Standard Sports 2 months ago

World Rugby will hold an emergency press conference with tournament chiefs to to “provide an update relating to the anticipated impact of Typhoon Hagibis” on Thursday. 

The tropical storm is bound for Tokyo and likely to arrive in the Japanese capital on Saturday, when England are due to face France in their pool decider in nearby Yokohama.

Though France and England are already through, the shootout will determine who is cast into which side of the draw. Saturday's winners will advance as group winners and likely face Australia in the last eight before a possible semi against New Zealand. The losers would most likely face Wales then South Africa. 

No World Cup match has ever been cancelled before, but the prospect of England's game being called off is becoming increasingly likely after ‘super typhoon’ Hagibis intensified.

The storm could also impact Scotland, who face Japan in a crunch qualification clash at Yokohama on Sunday, though the worst of the weather is hoped to have passed in time for the game to go ahead. 

The Japan Meteorological Agency have graded the storm “violent” — the highest rating — but the hope is that it will weaken as it gets closer to landfall.

World Rugby could either cancel or move the fixture(s) under threat, but the game's governing body have refused to confirm what will happen as the clock ticks towards Saturday's kick-off time. 

Simply moving the game would be problematic, because nowhere else would have the capacity to house the same number of fans, with many travelling from all over the world for the games. One report suggests the game could be played behind closed doors in a new venue to prevent supporters travelling in dangerous conditions. Broadcasters would find a cancellation difficult to tolerate.

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The ramifications of a cancellation (declared a 0-0 draw) would be far more grave for Gregor Townsend’s team than England, who would still top Pool C ahead of a likely quarter-final with Australia in Oita next weekend. Scotland would miss out on the chance to qualify, finishing third in Pool A behind Ireland and Japan. 


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