You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Rugby World Cup: England-France and New Zealand-Italy group stage matches to be cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis

Sporting News logo Sporting News 5 days ago
Angus Taavao of New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group B game between New Zealand and Namibia at Tokyo Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan. © Getty Images Angus Taavao of New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group B game between New Zealand and Namibia at Tokyo Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan.

The Rugby World Cup group stage matches between England and France and New Zealand and Italy have been cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis.

The typhoon, which has been described as "violent" is approaching the Japanese mainland and is due to hit over the weekend.

The England-France game was scheduled to be held in Yokohama, on the east coast of Japan, on Saturday.

Both sides have already secured their spots in the quarter-finals, but the match would have determined who finished top of the group. 

The All Blacks will top Group B, finishing one point ahead of South Africa.

Michael Cheika wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

In the event a Rugby World Cup group stage match cannot be played, the game will be ruled a 0-0 draw and no bonus points will be awarded.

That's where the Wallabies come into it.

In the event of a 0-0 draw between England and France, the English will maintain their two-point lead atop Group C.

France will finish second and Argentina will be eliminated alongside Tonga and the USA.

That result means Australia, who will almost certainly finish second in Group D, will play England in the quarter finals, with England taking on Wales.

The only way the Wallabies can overhaul the Welsh is by beating Georgia this weekend and hoping for a miracle Uruguay win over Wales.

In other words, it ain't happening.

For the Wallabies, it means a tougher task against England in the last eight, instead of the chance of playing France in the case of a French victory over the English in Yokohama this weekend.

New Zealand will play the second placed finisher in Group A, with those placings still up for grabs.

Because of the number of group stage matches across the country, there are no contingency plans in place if matches are cancelled.

For the knockout rounds though, there are reserve days in the event of delayed matches.

"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," said World Rugby Chief Operating Officer Alan Gilpin.

"As a result, we have taken the decision to cancel some matches in order to ensure the safety of all involved. It is the right thing to do, and comes with the support of all stakeholders, including the teams.

"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."

Pictures: Players to watch at the Rugby World Cup 2019

More from Sporting News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon