The Rugby World Cup was plunged into disaster final night time when it emerged one of many showpiece video games of the complete match is to be deserted, writes Alex Spink in Tokyo.
England towards France is a fixture that hundreds of followers from either side of the Channel have booked wildly costly 12,000-mile spherical journeys to attend.
It was all the time going to be the decisive fixture in Pool C, the sport which decided which nation received the group.
However right this moment it will likely be referred to as off, declared a Zero-Zero draw, with two factors going to every nation and, in consequence, England successful the pool with out leaving their resort.
No person is questioning the knowledge of not enjoying within the terrifying storm meteorologists say is on a collision course with Tokyo this Saturday.
Winds as excessive as 170mph and rainfall of as much as 10 inches would clearly pose a risk to life and limb of the 70,000 sell-out crowd headed for Yokohama.
However the failure of organisers to issue enough wriggle room into the schedule is an error of judgement – one with profound implications for the complete match.
Le Crunch has a wealthy historical past within the Rugby World Cup, from Mick Skinner’s ‘monster’ hit on Marc Cecillon within the 1991 quarter-final to victory for Marc Lièvremont’s mutineers over England on the similar stage in 2011.
In between there have been unforgettable semi-final clashes, each received by England, by Jonny Wilkinson’s boot in Sydney in 2003 and Joe Worsley’s faucet deal with in Paris 4 years later.
So this can be a enormous fixture, one which the northern hemisphere’s two greatest unions have spent 4 years constructing in the direction of.
Everybody is aware of that is storm season in Japan. So why is there no scope to delay matches by a few days to let Tremendous Storm Hagibis do its worst and transfer on?
It’s totally the proper determination to convey the World Cup to this land. It’s a new frontier for rugby and never one particular person I’ve spoken to thinks it something however a superb transfer for the game.
However you completely have to keep up the credibility of the competitors and pulling the plug on a key match on this approach completely doesn’t.
There merely needed to be larger flexibility for this eventuality written into the schedule.
England-France is definitely comparatively simple in at the very least each groups are already certified. However what about host nation Japan, because of play Scotland on Sunday in Yokohama?
Each can nonetheless qualify as can Eire, however not all three. Abandon the fixture and you must inform Scotland they’re out. Sorry. Shut the door, protected flight residence.
There is no such thing as a approach organisers might be seen to offer the hosts a free move into the quarter-finals. It will create an insupportable notion, one it’s arduous to see how it could get better from.