England v France and New Zealand v Italy games called off at the World Cup

Meanwhile, it’s still uncertain if Japan’s clash with Scotland in Pool A will go ahead.

Typhoon Hagibis.
Typhoon Hagibis.
Image: AP/PA Images

ENGLAND’S WORLD CUP Pool C clash with France, scheduled for Saturday in Yokohama, has been called off due to the threat posed to Japan by Typhoon Hagibis.

New Zealand’s meeting with Italy in Pool B, scheduled for Toyota City on Saturday, has also been called off.

World Rugby has officially confirmed the cancellations, with Hagibis forecast to hit the Japanese mainland on Saturday.

It is the first time that World Cup matches have been cancelled.

England and France will share a 0-0 draw as a result of the cancellation, meaning Eddie Jones’ side top Pool C, while France finish second.

New Zealand and Italy will also share a 0-0 draw, meaning that the Italians have been knocked out without having a chance to cause a major shock against the Kiwis in their final pool game. New Zealand top Pool B, with South Africa finishing second.

World Rugby says supporters who purchased tickets for the cancelled matches will get a full refund.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s vital Pool A meeting with Japan, which could have major implications for Ireland, is still under review.

That fixture is set for Yokohama on Sunday, but World Rugby says a final decision will be made on Sunday morning, a minimum of six hours before the scheduled 7.45pm kick-off [11.45am Irish time].

The game will either be played on Sunday or, if conditions don’t allow that to happen, cancelled. The fixture will not be rescheduled or relocated, meaning Scotland could be knocked out of the World Cup without having the chance to reach a quarter-final.

“This is a complex and dynamic situation which we have been monitoring extremely closely with the assistance of our weather information experts,” said World Rugby’s COO and tournament director, Alan Gilpin 

“We are now in a position to accurately predict the likely impact of Typhoon Hagibis on Rugby World Cup fixtures this weekend.

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“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.

“As a result, we have taken the decision to cancel some matches in order to ensure the safety of all involved. It is the right thing to do and comes with the support of all stakeholders, including the teams.

“We fully appreciate that England, France, New Zealand and Italy fans will be disappointed, but we trust they will appreciate that their safety must come first. They will be entitled to a full refund on their match tickets.

“Our message for all fans in Japan for Rugby World Cup is to heed all official advice, stay indoors throughout Saturday and do not attempt to travel on the day.”

A Scottish Rugby spokesman said: “We are in regular dialogue with World Rugby at all levels to work to ensure our fixture against Japan on Sunday can be played as planned. Public safety is the clear priority.

“With potential impact on our last Pool A fixture, Scottish Rugby fully expects contingency plans to be put in place to enable Scotland to contest for a place in the quarter-finals on the pitch, and will be flexible to accommodate this.” 

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Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Fukuoka

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