Fears of disruption to the World Cup by a typhoon heading for Japan this week have been reduced after tournament organisers confirmed Wednesday’s France versus USA match would go ahead as scheduled.
World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee confirmed today that the Pool C match will be played in Fukuoka at 08:45am Irish time after meteorologists tracking Typhoon Mitag reported the weather system was lessening in strength and tracking further westward away from Japan’s coastline.
Ireland are due to play Russia on Thursday in Kobe but neither game will be impacted, the organisers decided.
While it was thought the tight match schedule for the pool stages meant fixtures would have to be cancelled rather than postponed with both sides given two points for a scoreless draw, a World Rugby statement said Wednesday’s France-USA game would have been staged at an alternative venue.
“Our primary objective is to always enable a match to be played as scheduled in the best interest of teams, fans and the integrity of the tournament,” the governing body said.
Typhoon Mitag was as recently as Sunday developing off the south-west coast of Japan and predicted to bring high winds and heavy rain to the southern island of Kyushu on Wednesday, with Fukuoka’s Hakatanomori Stadium right in the firing line.
Ireland will play their final pool game against Samoa there on Saturday, October 12.
Rugby World Cup officials reminded visiting supporters from overseas that typhoons are a normal occurrence in Japan “and the vast majority have minimal impact on daily life”.