A typhoon could force the cancellation or relocation of the match, originally scheduled for Saturday, October 12 in Yokohama. A first in the history of the competition.
In the streets, in the stadiums, everywhere a slogan in English: "Once in a lifetime. " The first Rugby World Cup in Japan could lead to another unprecedented and less rewarding experience: the cancellation of a match due to typhoon, or relocation to another city.
These are the two contingencies threatening the France-England match, originally scheduled for Saturday, October 12 in Yokohama, on the outskirts of Tokyo (10:15, French time). A blow for the thousands of French spectators who had already planned the move for the main poster of group C.
The international federation, World Rugby, is studying today "The possible impact of typhoon Hagibis on the last World Cup pool matches". A decision should be announced Thursday, according to the pithy statement released Wednesday.
In case of relocation, the next meeting of the XV of France could be played at the stadium of Oita, according to the bi-weekly site Olympic midday. That is to say near Kumamoto, where are already the Blues, in southern Japan. A match that could then be played behind closed doors, according to the same source; perhaps because of the logistical problems that would arise from the influx of spectators from Tokyo.
A previous typhoon
Whatever happens, the current situation already places the leaders of World Rugby in unfortunate posture, leaving the impression of unpreparedness. They are now forced to assume their decision to have granted the World Cup in Japan at this time of year, despite the known risks of such climatic hazards.
"It's not disturbing to prepare for the match with this threat. It would have been disruptive if it had been the match of the qualification. As is the case for Ireland … "Jefferson pillar Poirot
Since the beginning of the competition, they had been lucky. For a few days, a typhoon called Mittag had also threatened the holding of the France-United States match on 2 October in Fukuoka. But Mittag had gone further offshore and had finally gone to South Korea, where he killed at least six people. And the French had the opportunity to challenge the Americans to the day and place planned.
Problem: Hagibis promises to be even more violent than Mittag, according to the latest weather reports. On the French side, players are showing a certain amount of relaxation for the moment. Without even knowing if they will face England or not. "We follow the situation inevitably, because we hear about it, but we did not talk about the scenarios," explains on Wednesday the opener Camille Lopez.
Even detachment, apparently, from the pillar Jefferson Poirot: "It's not disturbing to prepare for the match with this threat. It would have been disruptive if it had been the match of the qualification. As is the case for Ireland … " In fact, questions also concern Japan-Scotland, supposed to be held in Yokohama on 13 October. A match on which the fate of the Irish depends.
The Blues, they have already earned their qualification for the quarter-finals. Like the English. "If the match does not take place, we will be in the quarter anyway, reminds Poirot. That's all that matters to me. Will that be a problem for the rhythm? Yes and no, we'll be ready no matter what. " The coach of the XV of France had planned to announce Thursday morning (3 pm French time) the composition of the team against England. A conference postponed indefinitely "Pending official communications" the organizer, said Wednesday the French Rugby Federation.
In the event of cancellation, the rules of the World Cup foresees to grant ex officio two points to the two teams concerned. As if they conceded a draw (0-0). If this hypothesis were confirmed, it would keep England at the top of Group C, and France in second place. What place the Welsh on the road of the Blues in the quarterfinals, rather than Australia, if however the classification of Group D remains the same.
Rather a good? Rather an evil? "Wales or Australia, it does not change anything. They are all better than us, cut the back Maxime Médard, Tuesday. They have more regularity than us. " And to add all the same: "It's up to us to do what it takes to be present on D-Day." If the wind wants it.
See also: The images of a violent typhoon in Japan, September 2018