Owing to the level five evacuation order remaining operational following Typhoon Hagibis, World Rugby and the Japan 2019 organising committee have cancelled Sunday’s World Cup Pool B match between Namibia and Canada in Kamaishi on safety grounds.
A statement released at 6am Japanese time on Sunday morning stated: “Typhoon Hagibis was one of the most powerful storms to hit Japan in decades and safety considerations are at the heart of the decision. Kamaishi is situated in a highly mountainous area, including mountains directly behind the main stand of the stadium.
“There have been landslides and flooding in the vicinity of the stadium and along access roads to the venue following torrential rain throughout the night.
“The safety of all involved in World Cup 2019 is our primary consideration and fans are advised not to travel to Kamaishi or the venue, which will be closed. Ticket holders will be entitled to a full face-value refund.”
World Rugby chief operating officer and tournament director Alan Gilpin added: “The safety of teams, fans, volunteers and workforce is our number one priority. Following strong direction from the prefecture of Iwate and the city of Kamaishi, we were left with no option but to cancel the match on safety grounds.
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“We have been liaising closely with the city and the venue over the past 24 hours and have informed the teams. In line with the direction of the local authorities, we are making the difficult but right decision to cancel the match.
“Our hearts go out to the teams and also their fans, but also the people of Kamaishi, who have been incredible during what has been a special journey in recent years. Nobody will be more disappointed than them, but also nobody would have better empathy with the decision.
“We remain optimistic that Sunday’s remaining matches will go ahead as scheduled in Kumamoto, Hanazono and Yokohama, which are much further south and therefore outside of the impact of the storm conditions this morning.”
UPDATE: Namibia v Canada cancelled at #RWC2019
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 12, 2019
Detailed venue inspections at Hanazono and Yokohama are currently underway, and an update will be published when that important process has been completed. The message to fans is to exercise due caution on Sunday as Japan recovers from the storm and to keep monitoring official World Cup social and digital channels for further updates.
World Cup 2019 organising Committee CEO Akira Shimazu said: “Following extensive discussions with World Rugby, Kamaishi city and Iwate prefecture, during which we considered every possibility to make this game happen, in the end we had no option but to cancel the match to ensure the safety of the fans, team, volunteers, and all others involved.
“It was both a difficult and emotional decision to make. However, I feel it’s the right decision and firmly believe both domestic and foreign fans will understand the decision was made to ensure safety.”
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