RWC2019: England v France match cancelled

Tom Curry

Both the England v France and Italy v New Zealand matches have been cancelled due to concerns over Typhoon Hagibis, whilst a decision will be made later for Japan v Scotland.

The World Rugby press release is below explaining the situation, which obviously isn’t ideal. England and France were already through, but Italy have been denied an unlikely shot at qualification, and the Scots might suffer the same fate.

Sergio Parisse has said, ‘If New Zealand needed four or five points against us, it would not have been cancelled’.

Here’s the press release:

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 Toyota City 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.

Based on the latest detailed weather information, the following update is provided:

Friday, 11 October
Pool D match between Australia and Georgia in Shizuoka at 19:15 JST to be played as scheduled

Saturday, 12 October
Pool A match between Ireland and Samoa in Fukuoka at 19:45 JST to be played as scheduled
Pool B match between New Zealand and Italy to be cancelled
Pool C match between England and France to be cancelled

The decision to cancel matches has not been taken lightly and has been made in the best interests of public, team, tournament personnel and volunteer safety, based on expert advice and detailed weather information. While we have extensively explored all options, public and team safety was our utmost priority as well as ensuring a consistent, fair and equitable outcome for all teams. All fans with tickets for a cancelled match will receive a full refund for the face value of their match tickets.

Sunday, 13 October
Every effort is being made to ensure Sunday’s matches will be played as scheduled. A thorough assessment of venues will take place after the typhoon has passed before a final decision is made on Sunday morning.

27 thoughts on “RWC2019: England v France match cancelled

  1. I think that Japan v Scotland game will be cancelled, with Japan going through as winners, Ireland as runners-up.

    I can’t see how they can cancel Italy v NZ but somehow make alternative arrangements to play Japan v Scotland, just because Scotland have more of a chance of winning than Italy do in theirs.

    1. Putting aside who I think would win, it seems a bit too convenient that Japan, as hosts, can proceed without having to play a final match.
      I feel bad for Parisse – regardless of the result of that game he has been denied a chance to play his final match.
      I am in no way claiming to understand the logistics but surely it can be played in a different venue? The fans might miss out (which they are doing so anyway so that’s irrelevant) but at least the game can take place. I agree that it seems ridiculous to hold a WC in a place so susceptible to this type of weather and not have a proper contingency plan. It doesn’t seem like that have any.

  2. I’ve seen a lot of comments else moaning about the organisers not having a plan b. Remember this is an event with high likelihood to cause death and destruction. There’s no way the organisers could’ve undertaken the logistics involved with moving these games, and to do so during a national emergency would’ve been recklessly irresponsible. It’s one of those rare occasions where something is more important than rugby!

    There’s definitely an argument to be made that the tournament should’ve been started a month or so later to reduce the typhoon risk, but that moves into the global calendar argument.

    1. Re: SCO Vs JPN
      I’d say they’ll hold out as long as they can because everyone knows that pool is wide open. As an Irishman, I don’t want us to progress this way. I hope it’s not cancelled. We should get through fair and square and I now demand a thumping of Samoa.

      Re: Location Choice

      In time, I think the not the choice of country but the choice of stadia will paint this world cup in a bad light. Northern Japan is like Northern Europe this time of year. It’s rugby weather. The fans could be travelling around with their coats on and scarves packed, and all in the same relative location – Northern Japan. It was set up badly and I think history will record that. Japan is a very populous country littered with stadiums. Here are 12 stadiums in Northern Japan, including a few top class ones, more than enough to host a fully fledged world cup and like anywhere in Japan, they could have put on a great show, in the natural conditions we expect to play rugby in:
      First the 3 big enough ones for quarters, semis and final:

      Miyagi Stadium 49,133, Rifu, Miyagi

      Denka Big Swan Stadium, 42,700, Niigata, Niigata

      Sapporo Dome, 41,484, Sapporo

      Smaller stadiums:

      Iwate Athletic Stadium, 30,000, Morioka, Iwate

      Kitakami Stadium, 22,000, Kitakami, Iwate

      Sapporo Atsubetsu Park Stadium, 20,861

      ND Soft Stadium Yamagata, 20,315, Tend?, Yamagata

      Soyu Stadium, Akita, 20,125, Akita

      Aomori Athletic Park Stadium, 17,000 Aomori, Aomori

      Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, 16,187, Kamaishi City

      K?riyama Kaiseizan Athletic Stadium, K?riyama, 15,474, K?riyama City

      Hakodate Chiyogadai Stadium, 15,290, Hakodate, Hokkaido

      This tournament could have been entirely hosted in the more maritime Northern Japan, Sure, you could still get the back end of a hurricane but that’s no worse than you could get in my own country – Ireland – just the tail end, where it’s very rare and most out of breath and barely still cylconic at that point..

      All the fans would be in the same region, for a better more shared communal experience to enjoy the tournament in regular “rugby weather”. Maybe even a few bars with log fires burning.

      This all gets back to money and human greed. NZ had less resources than Norther Japan, and put on a great show. A nice intimate, more real tournament would have been great in Japan. We’re not the world just yet. More commonwealth and former commonwealth. We never needed 12 80,000 seater stadiums. NZ did fine without them. so did SA when they hosted with 11 stadiums and the rest.

      1. Sure northern Japan could have hosted these games but the idea of taking it to Japan was to grow the game there and capture the hearts and minds of the people. Can you do that without including major games in Tokyo. Also the list of stadia provided doesn’t include anything to rival the 70k seater stadium in Yokohama or the 50k capacity in Shizuoka in Nz they had the majority of KO games in Eden park 60k or Wellington 40k

  3. It’s also not an uncommon event though so there should have been a plan b. Its right that the game was cancelled but they should have had contingency in place for a closed door alternative. Whilst this wouldn’t satisfy the fans it would at least preserve the credibity of the tournament.

  4. Farce! Why did they stage the tournament in Japan if they.knew this could happen? And if they knew it could happen why didn’t they have contingency plans? They should have given the RWC to South Africa.

    1. Trying to spread the rugby doctrine Bolter? WR may have considered a plan B, but logistically changing stadia just may not have been practicable. Sympathise, but predicting how hurricanes will behave may be a tad less easy than predicting whether Boris will go for a 2nd referendum.

      1. I don’t know Don, this has been spoken about for weeks. World Rugby knew full well that the tournament was being held in Japan’s tornado season.
        I tend to agree with B/worth that money will have played a huge part in this because it nearly always does. It IS farcical that England and France won’t meet now. why can’t the game be played a couple of days later at a neutral venue? All we need know is an Earthquake and they may as well abandon the whole thing!

        1. It’s very hard on the fans who have travelled huge distances and paid a lot of money Don.
          The world cup is the pinnacle of the sport and it’s inexcusable really that games just get written off. If I was a Scotland fan I would be livid.
          Please don’t mention Britain’s Trump. He is revolting!

        2. Acee, I think it’s due to logistics of getting fans transferred to either possibly smaller venues with ensuing capacity issues, or their not being unavailable to attend earlier, or even later postponed games, due to accommodation issues. Maybe could have played games behind closed doors prior, later (TV only) & refunded fans via insurance? If later, how much later? Could then impact 1/4 schedule? Poss to difficult to predict hurricane landfall in time to reschedule games earlier? WR took a bit of a punt? Blew out.

  5. Gutted the games are off. That’s mucked up my Saturday morning, but understandable given the serious nature of the storm.

    Re. holding the event in Japan, even with this interruption, I’m a big fan of the “new” venue. Ultimately the tier one club need to share more of the game and the money pot around to keep it developing. Would love to see a RWC held in the Pacific islands, but appreciate that this is unlikely to happen at any stage in the near future due to logistics and infrastructure. What hope one in the Americas in the near future?

    1. I cannot see any reason for Argentina not to host the 2027 world cup. Maybe even have a couple of games in Uruguay and Brazil to help spread the love a bit.

      That could make for a cracking tour. I would like to think they’d have the foresight to have a few games up in Mendoza/Malbec territory!!

      Oh yeah, weather-wise, October is spring in Argentina – just having a look now at 10-day forecasts:
      Buenos Aires (Montevideo, Uruguay is literally next door): 16-22 degrees celsius, on-off rain/sun
      Mendoza: 18-26 mostly sunny
      Rosario & Cordoba: 18-28, mostly sunny, few showers

      2027 Rugby World Cup – Wikipedia:
      “As of June 2019, three countries, Argentina, Australia and Russia, had declared their interest in hosting the 2027 Rugby World Cup. There has been speculation that the United States and South Africa would announce their interest in hosting the event, however, nothing has been officially announced.”

      Argentina would get my vote!

  6. I have a bad feeling this cancellation is gonna bite England in the as come QF. Pre tournament there was valid talk about our group being the Group of death and if we finished top we would be battle hardened for the knockout stages. We couldn’t be further from it! Fear we are gonna get caught cold….but hope i am wrong

    1. I fear this as well. Think we needed a real match against France and that would have helped clarify which combinations do or don’t work. It’s Australia who will.have learnt from big matches through trial and error not us.

    2. You could look at it one of two ways. The other is that England now have 2 weeks rest, allowing all of their players time to recover. They also have sufficient time to develop a game plan for Australia (who will be confirmed as opponents in due course).
      I agree that it would have been ideal to have had a harder fixture but equally we could have finished that game having lost the fixture and sustained injuries to key players.

    3. I agree. It can be argued that England would have beaten France and still be facing the Aussies but that’s not really the point. The competition lost a bit of it’s lustre today imo.

  7. I’m surprised that they aren’t finding another way to get these matches played – could they have bought them forward? I’m sure that they explored every logistical idea but not playing the games is really seems the worst possible outcome. It also puts those teams not playing on a different timetable to the rest of the tournament – there are positives and negatives to having a two week break.

  8. I would say there are somewhat more negatives than positives to a two week gap from England’s point of view. It gives Billy and Marler an extra week to recover, but will leave Mako, Nowell and Slade desperately short of game time. It also means that we have not had a hard game in qualifying to give a bit of edge, and leaves the eight who are not in the 23 an awful lot of time to contemplate their role as training cannon fodder. It also lessens the chance of Youngs picking up an injury which necessitates sending for a quick passing scrum half, but perhaps that is a trifle cynical.

      1. Come on Japan!!

        As someone who feels confident that Japan will / would beat Scotland, I feel OK with them progressing if the game is cancelled. Would rather see them play of course, (yeah justifiably aggrieved), Scotland fans.

  9. Maybe the next one could just be played on paper? Get a panel of experts to choose teams out of a bag and then guesstimate the results all the way to the final which will inevitably be between NZ and the ‘boks. It would be cost effective, entail no travelling to far flung corners of the planet, rule out adverse weather conditions and all the players would be fit and firing for the domestic season!

  10. Everyone is talking about a Plan B as if it should have been in place for this match only. Any Plan B would need to cover. A typhoon hitting any part of Japan at any point in the group stages. That means that they could conceivably lose the use of Sochi, Shizuoka, Yokohama, Tokyo, and Saitama for 2 days (typhoon plus clean up) they would need to have multiple extra stadiums booked for every day of matches. Do it behind closed doors, it doesn’t need a big stadium… Well it does need a high level of TV cameras to support TMO. It need appropriate medical facilities. Ehat if a team went out because of a bad ref call without TMO? = No integrity to this tournament. Ultimately, it does need a stadium.
    They cannot make arrangements that only cover some games – see Parisse’s reaction. You can’t move the final group games because what if this was the Scotland Japan match? Move it back a day and now Scotland only have 3 days rest – the tournament has no integrity… Blah, blah.
    Let’s not beat around the bush: Cancelling games is shit! But there are no better reasonable alternatives. WCs are commercial enterprises, it is not reasonable to require 50% more stadiums to be booked just in case.

    If there is one question to answer it is: why was Japan chosen if there is this risk? I believe that growing the game is worth this risk. And it has so far been very successful. We are talking about adding possibly more than 50% to the global audience just from Japan (yes that increase would be unlikely, but please allow some hyperbole). It also says to non tier 1 nations that they do matter and they can get huge benefit from rugby.

    1. Playing behind closed doors was a real possibility which should have been higher up the pecking order that cancelled games.
      No reason they couldn’t move the teams and officials to another of the approved stadiums (probably on the north island where typhoons are highly unlikely) where the cameras are already in place for the other pool matches. Crap for the fans that travelled but better than a cancelled game and damaging the integrity of the tournament


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