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Namibia vs Canada becomes third match to fall victim to Typhoon Hagibis

Uruguay players applaud fans after their win over Fiji at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

(Continue reading below…)

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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.

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“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.”

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.

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“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.”

WATCH: Joe Schmidt and Rory Best speak after Ireland’s 47-5 win over Samoa in Fukuoka

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Jon 2 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Sopoaga is going to be more than good enough to look up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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f
finn 10 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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