October 9, 2019 10:56:38 PM
England’s World Cup group decider against France in Yokohama on Saturday has been cancelled due to the approach of Super Typhoon Hagibis, the PA news agency understands.
For the first time in nine instalments of the tournament, a match will not be played as World Rugby act in the face of a tropical storm described by the Japan Meteorological Agency as “violent”.
With all games cancelled due to weather problems registered as scoreless draws it means England will progress as Pool C winners into the quarter-finals, where they almost certainly will face Australia.
World Rugby explored the option of staging the game in Oita, where Eddie Jones’ men are due to face the Wallabies, but the logistics proved impossible.
Instead, the match is to be abandoned without a ball being kicked for the first time in 32 years of World Cup history.
If Hagibis continues on its current trajectory, it will hit mainland Japan on Saturday when England and France are due to clash and its impact is expected to last beyond the following day when Japan meet Scotland.
It is unknown what decision has been made over the eagerly-awaited clash between the tournament hosts and Gregor Townsend’s team, but there is the option of delaying it by 24 hours by which time the typhoon is expected to have passed.