Rugby World Cup Schedule Chaos – Why England Won’t be Playing France This Weekend
England were set to play France in their last pool stage tie of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. However, on Thursday, it was announced that the match had been cancelled. So why isn’t it taking place, what happens now, and have any other pool matches been affected?
England vs France – Why Has the Match Been Cancelled?
Eddie Jones’s men were scheduled to be taking on France this Saturday, at the International Stadium Yokohama, with the match kicking off at 09.15 BST. However, on Thursday morning, the tournament organisers announced that they’d called the match off, as a category five “super typhoon” is on its way towards Japan’s main island. Typhoon Hagibis is on track to make landfall close to Tokyo on Saturday morning and Yokohama is situated just seventeen miles from the Japanese capital.
Rugby World Cup regulations state that matches can be cancelled or moved in the event of adverse weather conditions, and initially there was talk that the tie might take place in Oita, the capital of the island of Kyushu instead. However, the organisers eventually decided that it wouldn’t be feasible to do this, but that it wouldn’t be safe for the match to go ahead at the International Stadium Yokohama as planned.
What Happens Now?
The Rugby World Cup points system dictates that if a match is cancelled, it’s treated as a draw, so England and France will be awarded two points apiece. England, therefore, finish this stage of the competition as Pool C winners on 17 points, while France finish in second place on 15 points.
While both teams had already secured places in the quarter-finals, their final positions on the table dictate who they’ll face next in their respective campaigns to win the coveted rugby trophy. As a result, Eddie Jones’s men will now face the Pool D runners-up, with France taking on the winners of that group. Wales currently top Pool D, having earned 14 points, and Australia are in second place with 11 points. However, both of these teams have one more pool match to play. The Aussies will be taking on Georgia at the Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa later today, while the Welsh are scheduled to play Uruguay at the Kumamoto Stadium on Sunday morning.
Have Any Other Matches Been Called Off?
New Zealand were set to be playing Italy at the City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday, but this match has also been cancelled. While New Zealand, the leaders of Pool B, were the favourites going into the match, Italy could have qualified had they have beaten them. South Africa will now go through to the quarter-finals instead.
At the time of writing, Australia’s match against Georgia was still set to go ahead, as was Saturday’s Ireland vs Samoa tie. The organisers of the tournament were planning to assess whether Sunday’s ties (Namibia vs Canada, USA vs Tonga, Wales vs Uruguay, and Japan vs Scotland) would be able to go ahead on Sunday morning. Wales are already through to the knockout stages and, should their match against Uruguay be called off, they’ll progress as pool winners and take on France in the quarter-finals. However, the cancellation of Scotland’s match against Japan would be disastrous for Gregor Townsend and his men, as it would mean they exit the tournament now.
What’s your view of the match cancellations? Which team do you think is on track to claim the Rugby World Cup trophy?