The most controversial Rugby World Cup of all time just took another dramatic turn as World Rugby announced midday on Thursday that it will cancel two World Cup fixtures as Super Typhoon Hagibis prepares to hit major cities in Japan.


“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,” World Rugby explained in a statement.

“For matches that do not go ahead as scheduled, two points will be awarded to each team in line with tournament rules.

The Super Typhoon bearing down on Japan is likely to be the strongest on the planet this year, with fears of extensive damage much like Typhoon Jebi which hit Japan in September last year.

“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 City of Toyota areas throughout Saturday.”

The two matches in question are Saturday’s fixtures beween New Zealand and Italy in Toyota, and England and France in Yokohama. A decision on the crunch Pool A game between  Japan and Scotland is yet to be made.

The cancellations will have major ramifications on how teams are ranked heading into next weekend’s quarterfinals.


The decision to cancel games for the first time in the tournament’s history has immediately put the spotlight on World Rugby’s contingency planning and the timing of the World Cup during Japan’s typhoon season.

Fans vented on Twitter to express their outrage, asking World Rugby to ‘take a bow’ as the tournament reaches new levels of ridiculousness. Many asked why a weather event of this likelihood couldn’t have been predicted in advance and contingency plans made to relocate games.


The Typhoon could yet cause major problems for Scotland whose lifeline to the quarter-finals depends on beating Japan on Sunday. Should the match be cancelled and the two teams share the competition points, they will be sent home.

With the most cards in history already becoming the primary talking point of the World Cup, the full impact of Typhoon Hagibis could make this the worst World Cup in history from a spectating point of view.

However upset the fans might be, the threat to those on the ground during the weather event is very real. Fans are cautioned to listen to safety instructions after last year’s Typhoon Jebi caused USD$15 billion worth of damage and led to 11 deaths as the second-costliest Typhoon in history

Scotland’s press conference after winning over Russia:

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