Rugby World Cup 2019: a cancellation, many questions

2019 World Cup director Alan Gilpin announced Thursday in Tokyo the cancellation of two games scheduled on Saturday: France-England and New Zealand-Namibia. WILLIAM WEST / AFP

After the cancellation, the questions. World Rugby, the International Rugby Federation, on Thursday (October 10th): Typhoon Hagibis, who threatens Japan, will have won two World Cup matches scheduled for Saturday, France-England and New Zealand-Italy , at the end of the first round.

The decision to cancel these two meetings is unpublished in nine editions of the World Cup. It leaves a feeling of unprepared organizers, and unsuitable regulations.

Contacted Thursday by The world, the international federation did not wish to provide any clarification beyond its official communication.

The option of choosing – or even predicting – alternate dates was not relevant. Because World Rugby rules state that during the group stage of the competition, "If a group match can not start on the scheduled day, that match will not be postponed until tomorrow and will be considered canceled."

This regulation was already the same at the 2015 edition of the World Cup. The competition was then held on English and Welsh terrain, much less exposed to the vagaries of weather than those of Japan at the moment.

The same regulation provides that, if bad weather leads to the interruption of a match after kick-off and if they prevent a recovery the same day, "Said match will not be reprogrammed for the next day and will be considered abandoned".

In the event of a match abandoned at half-time or in the second half, the final score will be "When the match was abandoned". In case of match stopped before half-time, "The result will be declared invalid for the count of match points, but each team will keep the score that was his when the match was abandoned".

  • Why has the track of relocation of matches been removed?

Alain Gipin, Executive Director of World Rugby and Director of the World Tournament.
Alain Gipin, Executive Director of World Rugby and Director of the World Tournament. MATTHEW CHILDS / REUTERS

On Wednesday, the option of relocating the France-England meeting in Oita (located about 1,000 kilometers from Tokyo), was a time mentioned in the entourage of the teams involved.

While emphasizing that "Every possible effort to implement a contingency plan that (would have allowed) at all Saturday matches to be maintained " had been deployed, the competition director, Alan Gilpin, explained that he would have been extremely irresponsible to endanger the teams, supporters, volunteers and other members of the competition staff. "

During the passage of the previous typhoon (Mitag), World Rugby, after announcing the continuation of the match France-United States, October 2, had acknowledged having considered moving this meeting elsewhere: "In the context of our many possible solutions in case of unforeseen, if the match could not be played in Fukuoka, another stadium would have been used. "

  • What are the consequences for the teams concerned?

The organizers favored the cancellation of meetings for which this option had the least impact: the teams concerned were either qualified (France and England in group C, New Zealand in B), or already almost eliminated (the Italy).

In the case of a match cancellation in group stage, the regulation provides in effect to grant ex officio two points to the two teams concerned. As if they conceded a draw (0-0).

The first and second places in the group would have been in play in the France-England match. It also remained a very theoretical chance of qualification for Italy, in case of exploit against the All Blacks without New Zealand bonus …

This is not the same story in Group A, where the two qualifying places for the quarter-finals remain to be determined. This is why the organizers have preferred to wait before announcing the continuation or cancellation of the Japan-Scotland meeting, scheduled for Sunday in Yokohama. If they decided to postpone it to a later date, they would go against the rules.

World Rugby has also decided to maintain the other meeting of Group A: Ireland-Samoa will be held Saturday in Fukuoka, an area a priori spared by the typhoon.

  • How did the teams react?

Conor O'Shea, the coach of Italy, now eliminated, spoke of an end "Horrible". "These boys gave their lives for Italian rugby and their World Cup ended on a training ground instead of the stadium. " His captain, Sergio Parisse, estimated "Ridiculous" the absence of any alternative to the cancellation of the match. "It's not new that typhoons hit Japan," he recalled.

The French Federation, by the voice of Serge Simon, its vice-president, declared that he took " act of the decision of World Rugby ". The Blues will face in the quarterfinals Sunday, October 20, in Oita, either Welsh or Australians,

As for Eddie Jones, the coach of England said already thinking "Quarterfinal" of his team, Saturday, October 19, and be " happy to have ten days to prepare it. "

The tone was the same for New Zealanders: "It will give us more time to prepare for our quarter-final. We will just have to adapt our training "said Steve Hansen, coach of the All Blacks.

  • What is happening to the spectators?

Some 70,000 spectators were to attend the England-France meeting in Yokohama, and about 45,000 to New Zealand-Italy to Toyota. World Rugby has announced that all tickets sold for the two matches in question will be fully refunded. Without mentioning the question of transport and accommodation.

  • Will the same rules be applied from quarters?

The rules differ from the first round. But there are various cases.

If the weather prevents a knockout match, it must be scheduled "Within two days (…) or a longer period of time" by the organizers.

In case of interruption during the match and if it can not "To end the same day, said match will be considered abandoned".

In the case where the match is abandoned at half-time or in the second half, "The score at the moment the match was abandoned will be maintained and will be used to determine the result of the match".

But if the match ends in the first half, then it must be replayed within two days (…) in its entirety in the same stage, or if need be, in another stage. " With the same wording as above : "Or after a longer determined period" by the organizers.

However, if the weather conditions lead to the cancellation of a match, even during "A longer fixed period" that of the two statutory days, the winner of the canceled match is determined according to a long list of criteria. The first of them being the one "More points" raked in the first round, then the one of the best difference between points scored and conceded throughout the tournament.


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