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Oct 10, 2019 05:02 AM EDT

Super Typhoon Hagibis Suspends England Games at the Rugby World Cup

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World Rugby

(Photo : MonicaVolpin)

The World Rugby and tournament organizers have announced the cancellation of the game between England and France on Saturday evening. They made the decision after receiving reports of a looming super typhoon Hagibis to hit Japan. They took this unprecedented step to ensure the safety of the players, organizers, officials, and sports enthusiasts. 

Scotland's tournament, on the other hand, is still pending with the decisive pool match to be moved until the morning of Sunday. Large parts of the country are preparing for the coming of what can be considered the most powerful typhoon to hit the country in decades. 

Alan Gilpin, the tournament director, said during an interview that an extensive evaluation of the weather conditions have been made before they arrived at the decision. The weather information his team was provided with made them decide to cancel the match between Italy and New Zealand in Toyota. 

That decision led to the ultimate elimination of Italy from the tournament. Although it seems as if they were still in the midst of a mathematical contention, the likelihood of the Italy team gaining back the lead would have been impossible, as the status of the game suggests. Officials say that it would have taken a miracle to get them past the knockout stage. 

All the cancelled matches will be treated like draws giving the participating countries a score of 0-0. Each team will then be awarded two points each to equal the match. The pre-final list includes New Zealand on top of the group ahead of the contender from South Africa. Both France and England have qualified for the quarter-finals with one loss to spare. 

England has secured the top spot in their group and is likely to face Australia during the quarter-finals. France will also be set to face pool winners from Wales halting any major upset in Pool D final games. 

"It has been a hard decision, but I think it was right that we cancelled," Gilpin told the press. He added however that the games between Australia and Georgia on Friday will be a go. Ireland is still playing against Samoa on Saturday. 

The decision to cancel the games was significantly due to the concerns on the safety of everyone. The priority was to ensure the safety of the players, supporters, and volunteers. 

If the game between Scotland and Japan were to be cancelled, the stakes for the Scots would really be high, assuming that Ireland will win their game over Samoa in Fukuoka. The World Rugby Association through Gilpin said that they do not regret staging the entire tournament in Japan during the typhoon season. He said that they have always known of the risks, but this type of super typhoon is rare, even at this time of the year. "We don't regret it," he added. 

When asked if the cancellation challenged the integrity of the World Cup, he said that the rules have been in place for a long time. They just never had to implement it until now. 

Gilpin dropped hints that the game between Scotland and Japan won't be rescheduled if it were cancelled on Sunday. The decision, he emphasized is highly dependent on the assessment of the weather conditions in the area on the morning of Sunday. 

Spectators would really be disappointed if the matches were cancelled, but authorities say that the safety of everyone will always be a priority. Akira Shimazu, chief of the organizing committee, acknowledged the effects of the cancellation. However, Shimazu reassured the public that they will do their best to make it happen.  

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