Rugby World Cup: World Rugby in the dock as lack of Typhoon Hagibis flexibility | Rugby | Sport


Japan 2019 has made unwanted history with the first cancellations in Rugby World Cup history.

The situation leads to inevitable questions over whether rugby’s biggest event should have gone to Asia for the first time.

Typing this on floor 31 of a Tokyo skyscraper awaiting a super typhoon’s arrival, it is hard not to feel a certain sense of unease at what is heading this way.

It was always going to be a roll of the dice staging the tournament at this part of the year in this part of the world.

Having experienced the past month of a unique World Cup, the superb stadia, the slick infrastructure and the extraordinary welcome of the Japanese people, the hosts themselves have no case to answer.

But World Rugby are in the dock. Their lack of flexibility over rescheduling has left this tournament on the brink.

In one sense they have been unfortunate. Typhoons are a fact of life in this country but not ones this size. Hagibis is the most intense tropical cyclone anywhere on Earth this year.

But in another they have been authors of their own problems. Typhoons are unwelcome guests at any global sporting party but they come and go.

Had the organisers built in some wriggle room in the regulations, this weekend’s cancelled games could have gone ahead after all.

For the players, travelling fans and the tournament itself it is profoundly disappointing that two games have been cancelled and a third hangs in the balance but if there had been reserve days this whole mess could have been avoided. All of them could have been played on Monday.

As it is, the manner of Italy’s exit is unsatisfactory and if it comes to pass Scotland’s could be even worse.

It is not stretching a point to say that the credibility of the entire tournament depends on Scotland vs Japan going ahead.


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