England v France, NZ v Italy cancelled due to typhoon
SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (OCTOBER 10, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD RUGBY TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR, ALAN GILPIN, SAYING: "We are today confirming adjustments to this weekend's Rugby World Cup 2019 match schedule as a result of the predicted significant impact of Typhoon Hagibis." 2.
WHITE FLASH 3.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD RUGBY TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR, ALAN GILPIN, SAYING: "The Pool B match between New Zealand and Italy in the City of Toyota will be cancelled.
The Pool C match between England and France at Yokohama Stadium will be cancelled.
As you can imagine, the decision to cancel these matches has not been taken lightly and has been made in the best interests of team, public, tournament and volunteer safety as a priority." 4.
WEATHER MAPS SHOWING DETAILS OF ANTICIPATED TYPHOON PATH 5.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD RUGBY TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR, ALAN GILPIN, SAYING: "It's rare for a typhoon of this magnitude to cause this impact this late in the typhoon season.
We had robust plans and, as I say, the plans that we are implementing now are in accordance with our plans for the pool phase.
We have a different set of contingencies for the knockout phase and whilst it is regrettable, we have made, we believe, the right decision with everyone's safety as the priority." STORY: Rugby World Cup organisers were forced to call off matches for the first time in the tournament's 32-year history on Thursday (October 10) - eliminating Italy as a result - saying the risk from Typhoon Hagibis made hosting them an impossibility on safety grounds.
Sunday's (October 13) key game between hosts Japan and Scotland also remains in doubt, with a decision to be made on the day.
Italy still had an outside chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals had they pulled off a shock win over double defending champions New Zealand in Toyota on Saturday (October 12) but the rules state that cancelled games are considered 0-0 draw, with two points for each team, they now finish third in Pool B.
New Zealand top the group and South Africa go through as runners-up.
England's game against France in Yokohama was also cancelled.
Both teams were already through but the decision means England top the group.
The sport's governing body World Rugby and tournament officials said at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday the decision had been taken due to the disruption expected from the huge typhoon, predicted to be one of the most violent to hit the region in recent years.
They said they had examined all possible contingencies, including moving games and playing behind closed doors, but, partly hamstrung by their own rules and with transport chaos a particular concern, said they were left with no option.
Super typhoon Hagibis, which was swirling some 490 km (306 miles) south-southwest of Japan's Chichijima island as of 9:00 a.m.
(0000 GMT), is heading north toward Japan's main island and could make landfall on Saturday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, adding that people should guard themselves against torrential rain, high winds, storm surges and high waves.
Typhoon Faxai hit the Tokyo region on the eve of the tournament, with destructive winds of up to 216 kph (134 mph) causing transport chaos and power outages.
If the Japan v Scotland game is cancelled, the hosts would go into the quarter-finals for the first time.
Japan, who four years ago became the first team to fail to reach the knockout round after winning three pool games, would go into the quarter-finals as top of Group A.
Ireland would need any sort of victory in their final game against Samoa on Saturday, or a bonus point in defeat, to join them, with Scotland then eliminated.
(Production: Jack Tarrant)