Rugby World Cup 2019: Weekend matches likely to be affected by Typhoon Hagibis
A super typhoon is set to pass over the main island of Japan this weekend. Typhoon Hagibis passed over the Mariana Islands on Tuesday evening local time and is expected to reach Japan on Saturday afternoon.
Hagibis is believed to be stronger than any other tropical storm to visit Japan this year. This is the 19th tropical storm Japan have suffered this year. The Japanese Meteorological Agency claims Typhoon Hagibis will be the strongest to hit the archipelago in 2019.
Aside from unfavorable playing conditions, such storms create serious problems for local transport facilities. Typically, local authorities will order the suspension of local train services for safety reasons in a typhoon situation. The issue is that of personal safety as a result of the congestion and overcrowding likely to occur in such situations.
This could have serious implications on the ongoing Rugby World Cup. The games that are likely to be affected are England versus France in Yokohama on Saturday afternoon, Ireland versus Samoa in the far western city of Fukuoka on Saturday evening and the all-important clash between Japan and Scotland in Yokohama on Sunday evening.
Ireland may well be the team to suffer the most significant consequence. Should their fixture with Samoa be cancelled, then tournament rules state the fixture should be declared a draw. Both teams would receive two points each in this outcome.
Currently Japan are top of their Pool with 14 points and play Scotland in a decisive fixture on Sunday evening local time. Should Ireland’s game be called off then Japan’s progression to the quarter finals would be guaranteed.
However, Ireland’s fate would then be dependent on the outcome of the game between Japan and Scotland. Should Japan win, then the host nation would top the Pool with Ireland finishing second, ahead of Scotland.
Should Scotland win, they will leapfrog Ireland who will unjustly miss out on the quarter-finals due to the cancellation of their final game as two points wont be enough to seal their passage to the next round.
This is assuming Scotland win their third match against Russia on Wednesday of course. Should they manage anything less than a win here, then Ireland will progress.
Fans planning on travelling to games this weekend should keep a close eye on frequent updates from The Japan Meteorological Agency and the Rugby World Cup Organizing Committee.
Tournament rules state that whilst knock-out stage games may be rescheduled, Pool stage games are to be cancelled should weather conditions dictate. Forms of redress concerning ticket sales will differ depending on the body that has facilitated the sale.