Rugby World Cup 2019: World Rugby cancels All Blacks v Italy game as storm threatens

World Rugby has confirmed it will cancel World Cup games this weekend - including the All Blacks v Italy - as Typhoon Hagibis bears down on Japan.

Earlier Thursday, Newshub reported the storm would force the world body to take drastic action, with the safety of teams and fans at risk. Those fears have come to fruition, with the England v France game also falling victim to cancellation.

The move means New Zealand and Italy share two points each from the fixture, which will see the All Blacks finish atop Pool B, with South Africa second and the Italians missing out of a quarter-final spot.

In Pool C, England and France also share points and remain unbeaten, but the English finish first, with two extra bonus points.

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Photo credit: Newshub.

World Cup organisers made the decision, after considering the latest detailed weather reports. The concellations are the first in tournament history.

"Based on this morning's information from our independent weather experts, Hagibis is predicted to be the biggest typhoon of the 2019 season," Rugby World Cup head Alan Gilpin told media on Thursday.

"It is highly likely to cause considerable disruption in the Tokyo, Yokohama and City of Toyota areas throughout Saturday, including likely public transport shutdowns and disruption.

"We've taken the very difficult - but, we think right - decision to cancel certain matches in the affected areas."

Tomorrow's scheduled match between Australia and Georgia will proceed, as will the Ireland v Samoa clash on Saturday.

"As you can imagine the decision to cancel matches has not been taken lightly," said Gilpin. "It has been made with the best interests of team. public, tournament and volunteer safety as a priority."

Gilpin said organisers had desperately tried to find a way of playing matches, either by delaying them or moving them.

"However, the risks are just too challenging to enable us to deliver a fair and consistent contingency approach for all teams and participants, and importantly, to provide confidence in the safety of spectators."

Organisers will continue to monitor the weather forecast for Sunday, when four games are scheduled to wrap up tournament pool play. The most crucial of these is the Scotland v Japan encounter, which would decide qualifiers from Pool A and New Zealand's quarter-final opponents.

If that game is cancelled, Japan would finish on top of the pool and New Zealand would face second-placed Ireland at the next stage.

"A thorough assessment of venues will take places after the typhoon has passed, before a final decision is made on Sunday morning," said Gilpin.

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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.

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