Obscure Rugby World Cup Weather Rule Could Have Major Impact In Japan

Obscure Rugby World Cup Weather Rule Could Have Major Impact In Japan

The Rugby World Cup is heading to Japan this year, taking place outside one of the dominant rugby nations for the first time. The Asian country have made massive stride in the sport in recent years, even defeating South Africa in the 2015 tournament.

While it will be exciting to see the World Cup take place in a less familiar venue, the weather in the Asian country could play a major part.

May to October is typhoon season in Japan, with September being an especially unstable month. Typhoons bring torrential rainfall, which can be accompanied by winds of up to 200 km/h. The country can be struck by up to 30 such weather events each year, although many do not reach the mainland.

Last year featured the worst storms for 25 years in Kobe and Osaka, two host cities for the World Cup.

Tokyo is set to be hit by a major typhoon this weekend, which has delayed the travel plans of some of the teams involved in the tournament.


So what if a typhoon hits during the tournament itself? It could have big consequences, especially in the pool stage.

Any pool match cancelled off due to inclement weather will not be rescheduled. Instead, the result will be marked down a 0-0 draw, with each side receiving two points. According to the Rugby World Cup rule book:

Where a pool Match cannot be commenced on the day in which it is scheduled, it shall not be postponed to the following day, and shall be considered as cancelled. In such situations, the result shall be declared a draw and Teams will be allocated two Match points each and no score registered. For the avoidance of doubt, no bonus points will be awarded.

If a game is abandoned at halftime or any point after that, the score at that point will be considered as the final result.

This could have a major impact, especially in tight groups. It could be the difference in who advances in the likes of Pool C, where England, France and Argentina will all be hoping to advance. If a game between one of those three and the likes of the United States is cancelled, it the loss of up to three points could be huge.

Similarly, it could have a say on who tops the pools. If a game between Australia and Uruguay in Pool D is cancelled, it would give Wales a huge boost in their search for top spot.


Once we advance to the knockout stages, any cancelled game will be rescheduled. However, the same rule applies to games that are abandoned at, or after, halftime:

Where a Match has to be abandoned either at half-time or at any time during the second half or any additional periods of play, the score at the time of the abandonment shall be considered as final and used to determine the result of the Match.

If a match is level at that stage and is abandoned, a series of sequential tie breakers (such as tries scored or points accumulated in the pools) will be implemented.

So while it is unlikely these rules will be required, it is worth knowing what will happen should such a situation arise.

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Gary Connaughton

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