Typhoon causes a 3rd game to be canceled at Rugby World Cup
TOKYO (AP) — Rugby World Cup organizers have canceled a third game because of Typhoon Hagibis, deciding early Sunday to call off the last of the Pool B games between Canada and Namibia.
World Rugby issued a statement saying an evacuation order remained in place in the Kamaishi area where the game was set to be played, and there had been landslides and flooding in the vicinity of the stadium.
"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," organizing committee chief executive Akira Shimazu said. "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."
Two of Saturday's three scheduled games were canceled well before the destructive typhoon made landfall. Organizers will assess conditions in Yokohama before making a decision on Japan's last Pool A game against Scotland later Sunday.
"The safety of all involved in Rugby World Cup 2019 is our primary consideration and fans are advised not to travel to Kamaishi or the venue, which will be closed," World Rugby said.
The New Zealand vs. Italy at Toyota and England vs. France at Yokohama were the first games ever to be canceled at rugby's showpiece event.
Canceled matches are logged as 0-0 ties, and teams get two competition points each. Canada and Namibia were both winless in the group stage, so the cancellation had no impact on the quarterfinals.
But Scotland needs a win over host Japan to have any chance of reaching the knockout stage, and is desperate for the last game of the round to proceed.
The Japan Meteorological Agency had forecast the typhoon to be the worst to hit Japan in six decades. It brought heavy rainfall in wide areas of Japan all day ahead of its landfall early Saturday evening, and continued to batter parts of the main island with heavy winds and torrents of rain overnight.
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.7 shook the areas drenched by the rainfall, shortly before the typhoon made landfall in Shizuoka prefecture.