Rugby World Cup 2019: Italy captain Sergio Parisse hits out at 'ridiculous' All Blacks cancellation

Italy captain Sergio Parisse made no attempt to hide his disappointment at the cancellation of their final Pool B match due to Typhoon Hagibis, saying that if the All Blacks had needed to win to make the quarter-finals the game would have gone ahead.

On Thursday, World Rugby cancelled Saturday's All Blacks v Italy game in Toyota City and England v France game in Tokyo, citing the potentially destructive typhoon bearing down on Japan.

Italy could have advanced to the quarter-finals by pulling off a massive upset in their game and beating the three-times world champions for the first time as well as securing a bonus point.

"It is difficult to know that we won't have the chance to play a match against one of the great teams," Parisse said.

"If New Zealand needed four or five points against us, it would not have been cancelled."

With the match officially declared a 0-0 draw because of the cancellation, both teams get two points. That leaves Italy third in Pool B on 12 points behind South Africa on 15, while the All Blacks top the group on 16.

Steve Hansen's side will now face the runner-up of the hotly contested Pool A in the quarter-finals.

Parisse, however, was still disappointed that his team did not get to end their tournament on the field at the City of Toyota Stadium.

"It is ridiculous that there was no Plan B, because it isn't news that typhoons hit Japan. The alternative is Plan B. When you organise a World Cup, you should have one in place.

"Sure, everyone might think that Italy versus New Zealand being cancelled counts for nothing because we'd have lost anyway, but we deserved to be respected as a team."  

Hansen sympathised with Italy after the decision was made.

"I know if we were in their situation, we'd be disappointed not to have the opportunity to get there, so yes, there's a lot of sympathy for them," he said.

Typhoons are not unusual in Japan in autumn but Hansen backed World Rugby's decision to put on the tournament, the first to be held in Asia, in its usual slot in the calendar.

"If you play it earlier, you run the risk of people dying on the footy field because it'll be 40 degrees," he said.

"If you play it later, then that's when we are finished for Christmas so you'd have Santa Claus giving us the World Cup."

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The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 11:15pm Friday for live updates of the Wallabies v Georgia Rugby World Cup clash.

Reuters 

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