Rugby World Cup 2019: Why the All Blacks are now vulnerable heading into playoffs

If weather strikes for a potential semi-final with England, the All Blacks' quest for a third straight Rugby World Cup would be over. 

With England and New Zealand atop Pool B and C respectively, they could meet during the final four of the tournament, should they win their quarter-final matches. 

 

Over the last 24 hours, World Cup organisers have come under fire for cancelling two pool matches, due to Typhoon Hagibis, with more expected to be added. 

Cancelled matches result in scoreless draws, but the rules change for the playoffs. 

According to Rugby World Cup rules, if a quarter or semi-finals match is cancelled, the first tiebreaker would be competition points accumulated during pool play. 

After both England's and the All Blacks' final pool games were cancelled against France and Italy respectively, Eddie Jones' side have accumulated more points (17) compared to New Zealand (16). 

Therefore, if their semi-final was cancelled, England would qualify for the final. 

"If a knock-out match cannot commence within the two days following the scheduled match day (or such longer period as specified by RWCL), or is abandoned prior to half-time and cannot be postponed and rescheduled within this period, it shall be considered as cancelled," the tournament rulebook reads. 

"In such situations, the following sequential criteria shall apply to determine the winner of the cancelled match." 

This hypothetical situation would bring back painful memories for New Zealand sports fans, after the Blackcaps lost the Cricket World Cup final to England on a countback rule. 

Despite the match finishing all square after a 'super over', England were declared winners, due to a superior boundary rate. 

Kiwi sports fans will hope England don't skittle a New Zealand World Cup dream for the second time in six months.

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

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

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