England’s World Cup clash with France in Yokohama is set to be called off due to the approach of Super Typhoon Hagibis.
For the first time in the 32-year history of the Rugby World Cup, a fixture is in line to be cancelled as a ‘violent’ storm is expected to rip through Tokyo this weekend.
According to the Daily Mail, ‘Le Crunch’ will be abandoned because meteorologists have predicted the Super Typhoon will pass through Yokohama Stadium on Saturday at around the time the game is taking place, with winds expected to exceed 180mph.
If the game is cancelled, the resulT will be recorded as a 0-0 draw and both sides will get two points.
World Rugby have called an emergency press conference for 4am GMT on Thursday, when it will outline contingency plans for the climax to Pool C, although the report claims the decision to cancel the game has already been made.
Oita was being considered as a potential venue – even though the stadium is 500 miles away. Both teams are set to play their quarter-final games there next week, but logistical problems have forced organisers to take drastic measures.
Hagibis has escalated from a tropical storm into a Category 5 super typhoon with winds reaching 180mph in one of the most dramatic intensifications of any tropical cyclone since records began.
Satellite images of the extreme weather event reveal that it is the size of Japan and shows no sign of deviating in its path or decreasing in magnitude.
It dwarfs Typhoon Faxai, which brought Tokyo to a standstill for the day of England’s arrival in Japan, delaying their exit from Narita Airport by six hours and leaving a million homes without power, killing three people and injuring scores more.
While England and France have already guaranteed their places in the knockout phase, it would mean they enter the quarter-finals without having played for a fortnight – potentially leaving them under-cooked.
Scotland are also set to play in Yokohama on Sunday and are currently in the dark as to what World Cup officials will decide. They take on host nation Japan the day after England and speculation is mounting that this game will also be cancelled.
The Mail claim the Scots could play on Monday instead, but England and France will definitely be called off. Gregor Townsend’s team hammered Russia on Wednesday morning by 61 points to set up a do-or-die showdown with the host nation.
Victory over the hosts in Yokohama (or wherever the game will now be played) would seal their place in the last eight.