A Scottish rugby fan who has travelled to Japan with his family for the World Cup has described the decision to cancel matches due to Typhoon Hagibis as “complete nonsense”.
England’s final Pool C game against France in Yokohama and New Zealand’s last Pool B match against Italy in Tokyo have both been abandoned due to the approach of the super typhoon.
“It’s ridiculous,” Peter Sellar, 47, from Peebles in Scotland, told the PA news agency. “I don’t know how many years this has been in the making and to have a contingency plan in place for nothing?
“Even if you play the games behind closed doors or put them back by a day or so. Three-, four-, five-day turnarounds are standard. We can all do it.”
Each team has been awarded two points, while Scotland’s crucial Pool A showdown with hosts Japan, which will decide who reaches the quarter-finals, is still under review.
Should that game also be cancelled, Scotland will be eliminated from the competition.
“It’s unbelievable that they would do this,” Peter said. “All the unions have agreed to it I suppose, this two-point rule if it’s cancelled, and it’s a complete nonsense.
“This is the contingency plan? How can this happen? It should have all been done and dusted in terms of planning.”
Peter, a lawyer, who arrived in Japan with his French wife Elodie and three children on Wednesday to watch England versus France, insisted plans should have been in place to move the games to an alternative venue.
“They have had to cancel the games on safety grounds of course, this is a hurricane, one of the biggest ones. You can’t expect people to be out and about, totally understandable,” he said.
“But that’s not the point. What they’ve done is cancel the game on the basis of the venue, but the hurricane does not hit all of Japan.
"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
“Japan is very big. They’re hosting World Cup games in a typhoon zone, well can’t they have figured it out?
“What have they been doing all these years? It beggars belief really.
“It’s still going to be a wonderful holiday, no doubt about it, but come on, this is so frustrating. You can’t have a World Cup experience if you don’t have games.”
A newlywed couple from Birmingham, South African Ken Marshall, 37, and English wife Rosie Marshall, 31, have travelled to the tournament on their honeymoon.
The typhoon has denied Rosie her first chance to see England at the World Cup but the couple have tickets for other matches.
Ken said: “While we were looking forward to the game and especially the atmosphere due to the rivalry of England and France, we understand why the decision was made to cancel the game.
“It’s not fair on all the wonderful volunteers and support staff to risk it.
“We are lucky enough to have other tickets for games, but feel awful for those who have travelled a long way to miss out.”
Rosie added: “We’re probably on the positive side compared to some of the people we’ve spoken to.”
Will Smith, originally from Basingstoke and now living in Sydney, has flown in for the England game from Vietnam, where he is currently travelling.
“I’m gutted, but can understand why they have done it,” said Will. “Due to the amount of games being played I think it would have been difficult to change dates.
“I feel for Scotland though, they have a real chance. If their game gets called off it will be a terrible way for them to get dumped out.”