Two World Cup games axed as super typhoon bears down on Japan

  • Thursday 10, October 2019 11:59 AM
Sharjah 24 – AFP: Rugby World Cup organisers took the unprecedented step Thursday of cancelling two games -- England v France and New Zealand v Italy -- as Japan braces for Super Typhoon Hagibis, likely the biggest storm to hit the country this year.
Both games were in the projected path of the large and powerful typhoon, which currently has a "violent" rating -- the highest category by Japan's weather bureau -- and is due to hit the Tokyo area on Saturday.

Sunday's four games, including the Pool A shoot-out between hosts Japan and Scotland in Yokohama, near Tokyo, remain under review, said tournament director Alan Gilpin.

"We've taken the very difficult decision to cancel certain matches in the affected areas," Gilpin said.

"While it's regrettable, we've made, we believe, the right decision with everyone's safety as the priority," he added.

Tens of thousands of fans, many of them visitors from abroad, will be affected by the cancellations -- the first in the tournament's 32-year history. Their tickets will be fully refunded, Gilpin said.

Japan, whose capital Tokyo hosts the Olympics next year, is battered by around 20 typhoons per year and is one of the world's most seismically active countries.