TOKYO, Japan - The Rugby World Cup will resume its normal schedule on Sunday after disruptions brought about by a deadly typhoon which struck Japan on Saturday.
World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee have announced Sunday's Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool A match between Japan and Scotland at Yokohama International Stadium will go ahead as scheduled.
"The decision was taken following a comprehensive assessment of the venue and associated infrastructure on Sunday morning in partnership with the Host City," a statement by World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee released on Sunday said.
"Fans attending Sunday night's match are advised to check travel operator information before departing and plan to arrive early as it may take longer than usual to enter the stadium. Fans should also expect a significantly reduced level of spectator service in terms of catering and merchandise sales owing to limitations on venue staff availability as a result of the typhoon."
"To ensure the best-possible fan experience, the decision has been made to allow fans to bring non-alcoholic beverage into the venue for personal consumption. All drinks will be decanted into cups at the point of entry. This change in policy will only be operational for this match. As per the earlier announcement, fans are permitted to bring food into venues for personal consumption," the statement said.
"Transport operations in and around Yokohama will progressively return to normal service levels throughout the day and we will provide ongoing updates via the @Japan2019_ENG fan information Twitter account throughout the day."
"As Yokohama International Stadium is located within the engineered flood defences of Yokohama City, there will be significant amounts of water in the surrounding floodplains and river. This is normal and should not alarm fans," the cup;er organisers said.
Earlier on Sunday, World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee announced that the Pool B match between Namibia and Canada in Kamaishi had been cancelled.
On Friday in advance of the storm, World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee took the decision to cancel matches on safety grounds.
Based on the latest detailed information from the tournament's independent weather experts at the time, Typhoon Hagibis was predicted to be the biggest typhoon of the 2019 season and was highly likely to cause considerable disruption in the Tokyo, Yokohama and City of Toyota areas throughout Saturday, including likely public transport shutdown or disruption. This turned out to be the case.
Organisers decided to cancel the Pool B match between New Zealand and Italy, and the Pool C match between England and France, both of which had been scheduled to play on Saturday.
The teams were informed on Friday. In line with tournament rules each of the teams were awarded two points.
"This is a complex and dynamic situation which we have been monitoring extremely closely with the assistance of our weather information experts. We are now in a position to accurately predict the likely impact of Typhoon Hagibis on Rugby World Cup fixtures this weekend," World Rugby Chief Operating Officer and Tournament Director Alan Gilpin told a media briefing on Friday.
"While making every possible effort to put in place a contingency plan that would enable all of Saturday's matches to be played, it would be grossly irresponsible to leave teams, fans, volunteers and other tournament personnel exposed during what is predicted to be a severe typhoon."
"As a result, we have taken the decision to cancel some matches in order to ensure the safety of all involved. It is the right thing to do, and comes with the support of all stakeholders, including the teams," Gilpin said.
"We fully appreciate that England, France, New Zealand and Italy fans will be disappointed, but we trust they will appreciate that their safety must come first. They will be entitled to a full refund on their match tickets."
"Our message for all fans in Japan for Rugby World Cup is to heed all official advice, stay indoors throughout Saturday and do not attempt to travel on the day," the World Cup official said.
With Typhoon Hagibis having now moved on, the World Cup schedule has resumed.
(Photo credit: AP).