England’s journey to the first stop of their World Cup campaign in Japan has taken much longer than expected as a result of the devastation caused by Typhoon Faxai, which has claimed at least three lives.
It took Eddie Jones’ squad almost took as long to travel from Tokyo Airport to their hotel as their 11-hour flight from London to the Japanese capital after they were stranded at Narita Airport for six hours on Monday, according to the Daily Telegraph.
They had been assured that their flight would not experience delays despite the misfortune of the Wallabies upon their departure to Japan, with the Australians delaying their flight because of the severe weather warning.
The English were met with clear blue skies when they landed, but their hopes of a smooth transit were soon dashed by the ensuing traveling chaos.
The 31-man squad were first forced to stay onboard the flight for an hour due to a lack of buses to take them to the terminal.
That was followed by information that the two coaches that had been booked to take the players and management team into the city had not been able to reach the airport because of traffic congestion.
Roads throughout Tokyo had been gridlocked in the wake of the typhoon, while all trains had been suspended.
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A six-hour stint at the airport saw squad members form an impromptu game of cricket, with transport not arriving until 8pm – six hours after the side first landed.
From there, a 40 mile (64km) journey to their accomodation in Shiodome awaited the team.
They will now fly on to the coastal resort of Miyazaki later today, where they will be greeted with a welcome banner at the airport.
England experienced 9-hour travel chaos today from Tokyo airport to their hotel in wake of destruction caused by typhoon Faxai, which claimed three lives in the Japanese capital. Banners already up ahead of their arrival in coastal resort of Miyazaki tomorrow. #RWC2019 pic.twitter.com/hi7FLSFOxy
— Gavin Mairs (@GavinMairs) September 9, 2019
Before flying out from the United Kingdom yesterday, Jones said that his side would have to be “comfortable with uncomfortable” if they were to win their second-ever World Cup, but it’s unlikely he would have expected that discomfort to come so early in their tournament bid.
England’s travel disruptions, however, hasn’t diluted the sides excitement for the tournament.
“This is a unique World Cup. It’s the first time in a tier-two nation so our ability to adapt quickly will be imperative,” Jones said.
“Every one of the 20 teams goes into the World Cup with the target of being at their best. We think we have prepared well so we have put ourselves in a good position.
“We are excited to arrive in Japan, it is a great honour and privilege to represent England and we are looking forward to the tournament.
“We used our warm-up games effectively. We were able to experiment with selection and tactics and have developed a solid platform game.
“Our ability to adapt to different conditions, different teams and different referees has improved.”
The All Blacks also arrived in Japan on Monday, where they were met with significant fanfare in the city of Kashiwa.
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