Rugby World Cup: Super typhoon forces cancellation of England match against France

9 October 2019, 23:47 | Updated: 10 October 2019, 10:34

England's game against France on Saturday in the Rugby World Cup has been cancelled due to the approach of Super Typhoon Hagibis, World Rugby has confirmed.

The teams were due to play their final group game in Yokohama, Japan, which would have decided who topped Pool C.

Instead, the match will be registered as a scoreless draw, meaning England proceed to the quarter finals as group winners, with France finishing second.

Both teams will receive two points for the draw.

World Rugby tournament director Alan Gilpin said he took the "difficult but right" decision to cancel the game on safety grounds.

Mr Gilpin also confirmed that this weekend's game between title-holders New Zealand and Italy has also been cancelled.

Responding to a question from Sky News, Mr Gilpin said he had no regrets over cancelling the games, adding: "We always knew there would be risks but it's rare for there to be a typhoon of this size at this stage of the year."

He told a press conference that Typhoon Hagibis is predicted to be the most powerful of the 2019 season, and will cause significant problems around Tokyo and Yokohama, including public transport shutdowns.

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Scotland's crucial match against Japan on Sunday, which is set to be played in the same stadium as the now-cancelled England game, is under review.

Mr Gilpin said World Rugby are doing "everything possible" to ensure that the Scotland game goes ahead, but could not rule out a cancellation.

Scotland must win against Japan to have a chance of progressing to the next round, but a cancellation would leave them in third place in the group, meaning the team could be flying home on Monday morning.

Scotland would be the only Home Nation not to progress to the knockout stages of the tournament, with Wales and Ireland also both through as things stand.

Speaking at a press conference after the announcement, England coach Eddie Jones said the team were disappointed but were getting on with the situation.

England will not have played for two weeks when they have their quarter final match on 19 October, and will use the break to take part in a training camp.

It is the first time in the tournament's history that a game has had to be called off.

Hagibis is a category five super typhoon which measures 1400km (870 miles) in diameter, with wind speeds of 180mph. It shows no sign of weakening.

Typhoon Faxai hit Tokyo on the day the England team arrived in Japan, which delayed them leaving the airport for six hours, and left nearly a million homes without power, killing three and injuring more.