World Rugby have confirmed that this weekend's England v France and New Zealand v Italy matches have been cancelled because of the threat of Typhoon Hagibis.
The typhoon, which is due to hit Tokyo, Yokohama and Toyota on Saturday, is predicted to be the biggest typhoon of the season. Both matches have been declared a draw, meaning teams are awarded two points each in their respective pools. England top their pool ahead of France, while New Zealand will finish top of Pool B.
Ireland's clash with Samoa is now the only World Cup scheduled for Saturday that will still go ahead.
A statement on the Rugby World Cup website reads:
World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee have taken the difficult, but right decision to cancel matches in the affected areas on safety grounds. The impacted teams have been informed and are understanding. For matches that do not go ahead as scheduled, two points will be awarded to each team in line with tournament rules.
Japan v Scotland is currently set to go ahead but will be subject to review on Sunday morning. World Rugby say: "Every effort is being made to ensure Sunday’s matches will be played as scheduled. A thorough assessment of venues will take place after the typhoon has passed before a final decision is made on Sunday morning."
In a press conference announcing their decision, the tournament's director, Alan Gilpin, further added:
While making every possible effort to put in place a contingency plan that would enable all of Saturday’s matches to be played, it would be grossly irresponsible to leave teams, fans, volunteers and other tournament personnel exposed during what is predicted to be a severe typhoon.
Fans with tickets to cancelled matches will get a full refund.
"Today we have taken the very difficult decision to cancel two Rugby World Cup pool matches"
World Rugby COO and #RWC2019 Tournament Director Alan Gilpin gives an update regarding the predicted impact of Typhoon Hagibis on this weekend’s pool matches at Rugby World Cup 2019. pic.twitter.com/YHns1B1iyS
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 10, 2019
Meanwhile, faced with the possible prospect of a 0-0 draw knocking them out of the World Cup, Scottish Rugby tweeted that they are in regular dialogue with World Rugby, saying "Scottish Rugby fully expects contingency plans to be put in place to enable Scotland to contest for a place in the quarter-finals on the pitch, and will be flexible to accommodate this.”
Scottish Rugby fully expects contingency plans to be put in place to enable Scotland to contest for a place in the quarter-finals on the pitch, and will be flexible to accommodate this.”
[Scottish Rugby statement following World Rugby position on decisive Pool A fixture v Japan]
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) October 10, 2019
Should Japan v Scotland be cancelled and declared a draw it will mean Ireland will finish second in Pool A and face New Zealand in the quarter-final, provided they beat Samoa.