Typhoon forces cancellation of England-France World Cup match

1 week ago
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Typhoon Hagibis

England’s Rugby World Cup Pool C match against France on Saturday has been called off because of Typhoon Hagibis.

World Rugby will provide official confirmation of the cancellation at 04:00 BST on Thursday.

Hagibis is moving towards Japan and expected to make landfall on Saturday.

England were due to meet France in Yokohama. There is no news yet on Scotland’s Pool A match against Japan, which is scheduled to take place in the same stadium on Sunday.

If the Scotland-Japan match was to be cancelled, under tournament rules Gregor Townsend’s side would be knocked out of the World Cup.

Cancelled matches are declared a draw with both sides awarded two points each.

England and France have already qualified for the quarter-finals and their match was due to decide top spot in Pool C.

The cancellation means Eddie Jones’ side, who lead the French by two points, will progress as winners and face a probable quarter-final against Australia, with Wales expected to top Pool C and therefore play France.

Scotland are third in Pool A on 10 points with leaders Japan on 14 and need to beat the hosts to go through, potentially relying on bonus points.

If second-placed Ireland beat Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday, a weather-enforced two-point haul would mean Scotland finish third in Pool A and go out.

It has been suggested Scotland’s match with Japan could delayed by 24 hours, even though that would be against tournament rules.

BBC weather presenter and meteorologist Simon King said Hagibis is “one of the most powerful tropical cyclones this year”.

World Rugby tournament director Alan Gilpin and Akira Shimazu, chief executive of Japan Rugby 2019, are due to attend Thursday’s 04:00 news conference.

What is the forecast?

A Met Office spokesperson said on Wednesday that Typhoon Hagibis was in the western North Pacific and on track to hit Japan this weekend.

It was located around 900 miles south of Tokyo with estimated wind speeds of around 120mph and gusts of 170mph.

The Met Office says strong and severe winds, very heavy rain and large waves mean a risk of flash flooding in the Tokyo region.

Yokohama is approximately 17 miles south of Tokyo.

King explained: “It is equivalent to a category five hurricane, making it one of the most powerful tropical cyclones around the world this year.

“The typhoon will start to weaken as it continues its track northward. However, forecasts from the Joint Typhoon Warning centre and the Japanese Meteorological Service suggest it will make landfall in southern Honshu, around the Tokyo area on Saturday lunchtime UK time.

“By this point, it’ll still be categorised as a ‘very strong typhoon’ with wind gusts in excess of 100mph and bring between 200-500mm of rain.

“This will be significant in a built-up area such as Tokyo with damage and flooding expected.”

Could it change before the weekend?

“Yes, it could,” added King.

“Forecasting the path of a typhoon is a tricky one and while there is growing confidence of a landfall near to Tokyo, it still could shift path slightly, even up to 24 hours before time.

“However, Typhoon Hagibis is huge, covering a diameter of around 500 miles.

“On landfall, the most powerful winds are expected to extend out 60 miles from its centre. Therefore, even if the location of direct landfall changes, the winds, flooding rain and impacts will still be felt over a large area.”

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BBC Sport – Rugby Union

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