Typhoon Hagibis is expected to make landfall in the Tokyo region on Saturday

England against France on Saturday has been called off because of Typhoon Hagibis, but Rugby World Cup organisers hope Scotland against Japan can go ahead as planned on Sunday.

The typhoon, described as the biggest of the year, is set to wreak havoc in Tokyo and surrounding areas.

Ireland’s match with Samoa in Fukuoka is expected to go ahead as scheduled.

“The decision to cancel matches has not been taken lightly,” said tournament director Alan Gilpin.

“It has been made with the best interest of team, public, and tournament volunteer safety as a priority based on expert advice.”

Under tournament regulations, cancelled matches will see both teams awarded two points as part of a 0-0 draw.

It means England top Pool C on 17 points, with France in second place.

The Pool B match between New Zealand and Italy in Toyota has also been cancelled.

The typhoon is expected to clear by Sunday morning, when tournament bosses will stage a comprehensive review to see if the four scheduled games – including Scotland’s crunch clash with hosts Japan – can proceed as planned.

The deadline for a final decision is six hours before kick-off.

“We are continuing to review Sunday’s matches and make every effort to ensure they are as played as scheduled,” added Gilpin.

“A thorough assessment of the venues will take place after the typhoon has passed before a final decision is made on Sunday morning.”

Gilpin added that World Cup organisers looked “exhaustively” at contingency plans, which involved moving or rearranging matches, before deciding that was unfeasible on both logistical and safety grounds.

“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,” he said.

All fans with tickets to cancelled matches will be entitled to a full refund.

However Gilpin says there are “no regrets” about bringing the tournament to Japan during typhoon season.

“What we have seen over the last three weeks absolutely in every respect vindicates the right decision to be here in Japan.

“It’s been an incredible tournament on and off the field and we always knew there were going to be risks.

“It is rare for a typhoon of this magnitude to cause this impact this late on the typhoon season.”

More to follow

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