Typhoon Hagibis bears down on Japan.
Typhoon Hagibis bears down on Japan.

Massive storm forces RWC into historical first

RUGBY World Cup organisers have been forced to scrap two big pool games as Japan braces for the impact of super typhoon Hagibis.

Matches scheduled for Saturday between England and France, and New Zealand and Italy have been abandoned, with organisers describing their historic decision as "regrettable".

They are the first cancellations in the tournament's 32-year history.


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The pool-deciding England match was scheduled for Yokohama, which is in the direct path of the tropical storm while New Zealand's match was to be in Toyota City, on the fringe.

The games were scheduled for the same day the category 5 storm is set to make landfall and organisers said in a statement they did not want to risk player, official and spectator safety.

They said the "risks were too challenging" to consider shifting the match venues.

A decision was still to be made on the status of matches on Sunday, including a key clash between Japan and Scotland in Yokohama.