Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks must 'adapt, adjust' to Typhoon Hagibis - Hansen

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will fall back on 'Plan B', after the cancellation of their final World Cup pool game against Italy on Saturday.

On Thursday, World Rugby confirmed it had called off two fixtures, as Typhoon Hagibis bore down on Japan over the next couple of days, threatening the safety of teams and fans.

While the result - and enforced draw with shared points - means New Zealand will qualify for quarter-finals at the top of their pool, the decision has played havoc on their preparation for the business end of the tournament.

While Hansen stopped short of detailing his team's contingency plans, he stressed that weather and natural disasters had been part of the campaign strategy.

"These guys have about 25 typhoons a year and heck of a lot of earhtquakes," he told media on Thursday. "In our planning, we had to take that into consideration.

"Did we think we'd get a game cancelled - no, but that's out of our control, but immediately that it's happened, we just adapt and adjust.

"That's what you do on the park and that's what you have to do the park sometimes."

Hansen was just hours away from naming his side to take on the Italians and while he refused to reveal his intended line-up, NZME reports he planned to start Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue in the midfield, Codie Taylor at hooker and Scott Barrett at lock, instead of Sam Whitelock. 

"What do we have to adapt and adjust to?" mused Hansen. "Players have to get their heads around the fact they're not playing.

"Coaching group and strength & conditioning group have to get their heads around the fact we're not playing, and change our training accordingly.

"Instead of having a captain's rung, we'll have different kind of run.

"What are we going to do on Saturday? Probably staying inside would be a good idea, I reckon, and Sunday, we'll see what the weather allows us to do."

Hansen would not reveal whether he would stage a simulated game to replace the Italian match.

"What we do will be behind closed doors," he said. "There's no point in telling everyone else, they might copy us.

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Photo credit: Newshub.

"Obviously, we have to replicate something that was going to happen on Saturday, so it will be a decent training run."

Another positive Hansen was taking out of the cancellation - none of his players would face the prospect of yellow or red cards to disqualify them from future games.

"Definitely no chance of cards... we haven't started dishing out cards at training."

In their last outing, props Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungafasi were both sin-binned, after making contact with opponents' heads in tackles. 

Hansen said the cancellations - England v France was also called off - were disappointing to all concerned, but they were also the right decision under the circumstances.

"I just hope people don't remember the World Cup for this," he said. "It's been a marvellous tournament so far, hopefully it continues to be so and we just put this down as a disappointment, but unavoidable."

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