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Eddie Jones' preparations interrupted as typhoon leaves England stranded at airport

Typhoon Faxai pummelled the Japanese capital Tokyo with record winds and torrential rain.

England head coach Eddie Jones.
England head coach Eddie Jones.
Image: Richard Sellers

EDDIE JONES’ WORLD Cup preparations were dealt a setback today as his England side were left stranded at Narita International Airport for five hours after the effects of Typhoon Faxai.

The typhoon, which scored a direct hit on Tokyo with less than two weeks until the start of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, had only a “minor” impact on preparations, organisers said.

Typhoon Faxai, which pummelled the Japanese capital with record winds and torrential rain, reignited concerns about the potential impact of Japan’s extreme weather on the seven-week World Cup that kicks off on 20 September.

Organising committee spokesman Nicholas Van Santen said that an initial study into the typhoon had shown “some minor impact on venues and team camps.”

Some teams — notably the Australians — were delayed in their arrival while England and their coach Jones also experienced some delays. 

“We are excited to arrive in Japan, it is a great honour and privilege to represent England and we are looking forward to the tournament,” Jones said.

“This is a unique World Cup. It’s the first time in a tier-two nation so our ability to adapt quickly will be imperative.”

There were also small changes to the schedules of the arriving Tongan and Georgian teams.

However, France managed to sneak in just before the onset of Faxai while the three-time champions New Zealand arrived later Monday after the storm had spiralled out to sea.

Van Santen said organisers had been monitoring the typhoon closely and analysing it with the tournament’s weather information providers and the relevant Japanese authorities.

“We are working closely with the teams concerned to minimise any impact from these delays,” he said.

Due to the packed schedule in the initial pool phase, tournament rules state that if a match cannot be played, it is cancelled and recorded as a draw — a system that could have a huge impact on what is expected to be a close-run competition.

Typhoon Faxai, one of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall close to Tokyo, killed two people and injured around 30 more, as well as causing travel chaos in the Japanese capital’s notoriously packed morning commute.

- © AFP, 2019

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