rugby world cup 2019

Namibia-Canada Rugby World Cup match cancelled due to typhoon

By Richard CARTER

Rugby World Cup organizers on Sunday announced the cancellation of the match between Namibia and Canada due to Typhoon Hagibis but said they were "optimistic" the others could go ahead.

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, organizers said in a statement.

"We were left with no option but to cancel the match on safety grounds," said tournament director Alan Gilpin, who had already been forced to cancel two other matches as Hagibis approached.

However, Gilpin added: "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."

Cancellation is a blow for the northern town of Kamaishi, whose hosting of World Cup games was a potent symbol of recovery from a 2011 tsunami disaster when it was nearly wiped off the map.

It also robs Namibia of a chance to grab their first World Cup win and end their record run of 22 games at the tournament without a victory. Canada are without a win in their last 10 World Cup matches.

The cancellation means that only one game was held at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium -- Uruguay's stunning, 30-27 upset of Fiji in Pool D.

The stadium, the only purpose-built venue at the World Cup, was built on the site of a school which was the scene for the "Miracle of Kamaishi", when more than 400 children sprinted into the mountains to safety.

"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," said Gilpin.

"Nobody will be more disappointed than them, but also nobody would have better empathy with the decision."

Organizers said fans should not travel to the stadium, which will be closed, and they would be entitled to a full refund.

All eyes are now on whether the do-or-die match between hosts Japan and Scotland in Yokohama will go ahead.

Detailed venue inspections at Hanazono and Yokohama are currently underway, and an update will be published when that important process has been completed, World Rugby said in a statement.

The Japan-Scotland game has become the subject of an ugly war of words, with the Scots threatening legal action if it is not played.

If the match were cancelled, it would be awarded as a 0-0 draw -- sending the Scots home and Japan through to their first quarterfinal.

Organizers have come in for hefty criticism for cancelling two matches planned for Saturday -- England vs France and New Zealand vs Italy.

It was the first time in the 32-year history of the Rugby World Cup that a match has been cancelled and fueled criticism of tournament organizers for hosting it in Japan during typhoon season.

However, organizers said that despite a "robust" contingency plan, the scale of Hagibis, which covered practically the entire country, meant it was unsafe and impractical to move those matches to another venue.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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That’s a real shame for Kamaishi as it was a match to help boost the local region after the tsunami wreckage, but just one of those things...

I wonder if the teams would be interested to stick around a play a friendly match, conditions permitting. Sounds like that might even be a stretch.

it was unsafe and impractical to move those matches to another venue.

Within the constraints of the rules agreed, I think that is right.

There might be room to consider changing the rules for the future, but it’s basically really bad luck that such a big weather event struck the tournament in this way - in mid October nonetheless, hardly a renowned typhoon season.

Just really bad luck.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A real shame but completely understandable! I was watching the news during the overnight hours and this morning and the impact of the typhoon on Kameishi was noted.

The problem is the topography in the area. Mountains / hills with steep inclines do not mix well with tremendous amounts of rain. We've seen this in other areas of Japan, such as western Honshu, in the wake of heavy rain from typhoons.

Nevertheless, it is still a real shame.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Not much you can do about the weather, especially given the destruction. Plenty organizers can do not to put a major tournament (or minor, for that matter) in a place where such destruction is a very real possibility.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It's not an issue about "the weather," but the season and climate, factors that can be taken account of well in advance. This summer during the Olympics should be interesting.

It was the first time in the 32-year history of the Rugby World Cup that a match has been cancelled and fueled criticism of tournament organizers for hosting it in Japan during typhoon season.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Unfortunate but understandable, this Canuck is sad neither Cda or Namibia get the chance to snag a win!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sorry Canada! Currently at the USA-Tonga match. We will try to bring home a victory for the entire North American continent.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan v Scotland is ON!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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