Rugby World Cup chaos as England-France and New Zealand-Italy games canceled due to Super Typhoon Hagibis

Posted Thursday, 10 October 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Two Rugby World Cup matches scheduled for Saturday have been canceled on safety grounds as Super Typhoon Hagibis approaches Japan, tournament organizers announced at a press conference on Thursday.The Pool B match between New Zealand and Italy in the city of Toyota, and the Pool C match between England and France in Tokyo, are so far the only games affected. The games will not be rescheduled and two points will be awarded to each team, in line with tournament rules, organizers said. Head of the Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin said they are making efforts to ensure Sunday's matches are played as scheduled, but will reassess later. Tournament organizers have been advised that Saturday's public transport in match areas will be shut down and warned all fans to stay indoors on Saturday. The Pool C game was due to be played outside of Tokyo at 4:15 p.m., local time Saturday, around when the storm is expected to make a direct landfall at strengths equivalent to a Category Two level storm. Toyota, around 225 kilometers (140 miles) west of Tokyo, is also expected to be highly impacted by the storm. On Saturday, "conditions in Japan will deteriorate through the day with the worst moving through central Japan late Saturday into Sunday local time," said CNN meteorologist Monica Garrett."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," Gilpin said. "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."

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