Namibia’s final World Cup pool match against Canada has become the latest game to be cancelled by World Rugby due to safety concerns around typhoon Hagibis.
World Rugby confirmed the game would not go ahead as scheduled in Kamaishi on Sunday and would instead be called off, with both teams awarded two points.
The match is the latest to be cancelled this weekend, after England’s Pool C clash against France and the All Blacks’ game against Italy were both also called off due to fears around teams’ and supporters’ safety.
Namibia were targeting their first-ever World Cup win, while Canada were looking for their first win at the tournament since 2011.
In their official statement, World Rugby pointed out that Kamaishi is situated in a mountainous area and that there were landslides and flooding on access roads near the stadium.
‘The safety of teams, fans, volunteers and workforce is our number one priority,’ tournament organiser Alan Gilpin said. ‘Following strong direction from the Prefecture of Iwate and the City of Kamaishi, we were left with no option but to cancel the match on safety grounds.
‘We have been liaising closely with the city and the venue over the past 24 hours and have informed the teams. In line with the direction of the local authorities, we are making the difficult, but right decision to cancel the match.
‘Our hearts go out to the teams and also their fans, but also the people of Kamaishi, who have been incredible during what has been a special journey in recent years. Nobody will be more disappointed than them, but also nobody would have better empathy with the decision.’
Gilpin added that World Rugby are confident the crucial Pool A clash between hosts Japan and Scotland would go on as planned. Scotland have threatened World Rugby with legal action if the game does not take place.
‘We remain optimistic that Sunday’s remaining matches will go ahead as scheduled in Kumamoto, Hanazono and Yokohama, which are much further south and therefore outside of the impact of the storm conditions this morning,’ Gilpin said.
Detailed inspections of the stadiums in Yokohama and Hanazono are underway and updates will be provided as soon as possible.