Super typhoon on track to drench Japan’s main island

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Two Rugby World Cup games pitting England against France and New Zealand against Italy have been called off as the powerful Typhoon Hagibis approaches Japan this weekend, organizers confirmed.

Gilpin defended World Rugby's decision to host the event in Japan during the typhoon season and dismissed suggestions that the canceled games have undermined the integrity of the tournament.

Tournament rules state that any pool game that can not be played is not rescheduled and instead is recorded as a 0-0 draw, giving each team two points, with no bonus points available.

Pool D match between Australia and Georgia in Shizuoka at 7:15 p.m.to be played as scheduled. If second-placed Ireland beat Samoa, a weather-enforced two-point haul would mean Scotland finish third in Pool A and go out, although, in this scenario, an Ireland defeat would mean Scotland progress.

Their wish for an immaculate, on-time climax to this festival of rugby is completely understandable - yet the way in which they have chose to preserve the schedule will ensure that this World Cup is remembered not for whatever brilliant rugby may be played in the final, but for a shameful decision which was taken midway through the tournament.

The organisers' decision to cancel the England-France match and New Zealand's game against Italy has made sure of that.

World Rugby has a contingency plan in place to ensure that Ireland's game against Samoa goes ahead, and that could be by delaying the game until Sunday or by changing the venue.

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"Every effort is being made to minimise disruption to the Formula 1 timetable, however, the safety of the fans, competitors and everyone at the Suzuka Circuit remains the top priority".

At times it felt like only a force of nature could stop New Zealand's streak of wins at the Rugby World Cup. The Japan Meteorological Agency says the typhoon is forecast to hit ashore in the Tokyo area between Saturday and Sunday and urged people to take precautions to avoid potentially life-threatening danger.

There are reports World Rugby could move that clash to Oita Stadium, which has a roof.

"We've looked again at the potential to apply some kind of consistent contingency plan across all the games that could be affected this weekend", he said.

However, there are provisions in the tournament participation agreement on "force majeure", which includes a "storm or tempest", concerning matches that can not be played. "We have no regrets".

The Japan vs Scotland is still going ahead at this stage, but if it is cancelled, then Japan would qualify for the knockout stages with Ireland, while Scotland would miss out. "If we are looking outside the hotel window on Sunday and it's sunny, it would be quite unusual if a game could not be played that day or the next day".

In 2004 the weather was caused by Typhoon Ma-on, a tropical cyclone that was comparable in size to Typhoon Hagibis, and on that occasion the sport took the decision to postpone qualifying on Friday night.

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