England’s Rugby World Cup encounter with France has been called off due to concerns over a typhoon which is set to hit Japan in the coming days.
Typhoon Hagibis, which is expected to be the biggest in the region this year, has also put paid to New Zealand’s clash with Italy, while organiser’s hope Scotland’s vital match against the host nation on Sunday could still go ahead as scheduled.
Eddie Jones’ England were set to face the Les Bleus in Pool C, with the sides separated by two points.
Australia’s encounter with Georgia on Friday and Ireland’s game against Samoa the following day will both go ahead.
"The decision to cancel matches has not been taken lightly," said tournament director Alan Gilpin.
"It has been made with the best interest of team, public, and tournament volunteer safety as a priority based on expert advice."
Cancelled matches will act the same as scoreless draws, with two points awarded to each side.
It means England will win their group, and face a likely quarter-final against old rivals Australia, which would also set up a last eight meeting between Wales and France.
A statement on the official Rugby World Cup website added: “After extensive evaluation, World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee have announced an update regarding the predicted impact of Typhoon Hagibis on this weekend’s Rugby World Cup 2019 pool matches. This includes the decision to cancel matches on safety grounds.
“Based on the latest detailed information from the tournament’s independent weather experts, Hagibis is predicted to be the biggest typhoon of the 2019 season and is highly likely to cause considerable disruption in the Tokyo, Yokohama and City of Toyota areas throughout Saturday, including likely public transport shutdown or disruption.
“As a result, World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee have taken the difficult, but right decision to cancel matches in the affected areas on safety grounds. The impacted teams have been informed and are understanding. For matches that do not go ahead as scheduled, two points will be awarded to each team in line with tournament rules.
“It is an exceptional, complex and rapidly evolving situation and team and public safety is the number one priority. This has been central in all decision-making in partnership with the tournament’s weather information experts, host cities, venues and teams.”
The Japanese Grand Prix is also at risk from the adverse weather, with Formula 1 set to make a decision over whether to cancel qualifying on Friday.
A statement read: "The FIA, Formula 1, Suzuka Circuit and the Japanese Automobile Federation are closely monitoring Typhoon Hagibis and its potential impact on the 2019 FIA Formula One Japanese Grand Prix.
"Every effort is being made to minimise disruption to the Formula 1 timetable, however the safety of the fans, competitors and everyone at the Suzuka Circuit remains the top priority.
"All parties will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates in due course."
Featured from our writers