The Sydney Morning Herald wrote:
The storm was initially set to hit southern Japan on Saturday, meaning the Wallabies’ upcoming game against Georgia in Shizuoka would not be affected. However meteorologists now believe the typhoon is more likely to hit further north in Yokohama and Tokyo where there are important, pool-defining matches this weekend.
World Rugby is monitoring the situation closely but would receive major backlash if a natural disaster, which is a regular occurrence in Japan, was to mar the final weekend of competition.
Citizen safety is an issue too given typhoons force residents to stay indoors. Winds between 250km/h and 300km/h have been forecast at this early stage but there is a chance the storm won’t hit despite numerous warnings.
In Australia’s pool, Wales could be the big losers and possibly miss out on the top spot they have eyed off since beating the Wallabies in Tokyo.
Wales’ match on Wednesday against Fiji will not be affected, but a clash on Sunday with Uruguay, who they are expected to beat with a bonus point, may be cancelled or possibly moved due to the weather.
Rugby World Cup rules state that in abandoned matches both teams split the four points, taking two each.
There are dozens of possible outcomes but the Wallabies will be crossing their fingers they can take the field against Georgia and Wales do not against Uruguay.
If Wales beat Fiji but without a bonus point, they will go two points clear of Australia (13 points to 11 points) with a game remaining each. If Australia then pick up a winning bonus point over Georgia, which is highly likely, they will go three points atop Pool D (16 points to Wales on 13).
Therefore, if Wales’ final fixture is washed out, the northern hemisphere side will fall a point short of the Wallabies given they will only get two points for a cancelled match.
However, if Wales won with a bonus point over Fiji, the best the Wallabies could hope for is to be tied on points with Wales if there is a typhoon but even then Warren Gatland’s side go through on a countback because they defeated Australia 29-25. If Wales lost to Fiji, Australia’s chances of finishing first increase significantly.
Topping the pool for Australia would likely see them avoid England in a quarter-final and come up against France instead.
However, the England and France match in Yokohama on Saturday could also be affected by the typhoon.
Typhoon Hagibis is growing in intensity and could cause major disruptions to the Rugby World Cup in Japan. Credit:NASA/Earthdata
Because England (15 points) are ahead of France (13 points), they would finish top of Pool C if the match was cancelled.
Meanwhile, Scotland and Ireland’s World Cup campaigns could be affected by the typhoons if their matches against Japan and Samoa respectively are abandoned.
If Scotland (5 points currently), can claim nine points (the equivalent of a win and a bonus point win) in their next two matches, Ireland (11 points) could be booted out of the World Cup if they split the points in their last pool match against Samoa on Saturday in Fukuoka City.
However, if Scotland do not get onto the field against Japan on Sunday, their World Cup campaign will be all but over, provided Ireland do not lose to Samoa.
Coach Gregor Townsend, who initially thought the Typhoon’s name was “Haggis”, said his side would not let it be a distraction.
Typhoon Hagidis: the breakdown
- If Wales beat Fiji without a bonus point: Wales (13), Australia (11). If Australia then beat Georgia with a bonus point: Wales (13), Australia (16). If Wales vs Uruguay is then abandoned: Wales (15), Australia (16) = Australia top pool D.
- If Wales beat Fiji with a bonus point: still top Pool D regardless of what Australia do next.
- If Wales lose to Fiji without a bonus point: Wales (9), Australia (11) with one game remaining.
- If England and France match is abandoned on Saturday: England (17) still advance ahead of France (15).
- If Scotland match against Japan on Sunday is cancelled: can’t progress to quarter-finals unless Ireland do play and lose to Samoa.
- If Scotland won both their games and Ireland’s game against Samoa was cancelled: Ireland would miss out on quarter-finals.
- If Japan’s match against Scotland was cancelled, they would automatically qualify for quarter-finals.
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