Rugby World Cup 2019: Eddie Jones says ‘Typhoon Gods’ are smiling down on England after France game cancelled
England are already on their way back to Miyazaki to avoid the worst typhoon in Japan in 60 years after seeing their final pool match called off
Both England vs France and New Zealand vs Italy have been abandoned, with the worst tropical cyclone in 60 years set to bring 160mph winds and heavy rain to the Yokohama, Tokyo and the surrounding area of Honshu.
Scotland’s Pool A decider against Japan is also under threat on Sunday, with World Rugby confirming that they will cancel the match if it is deemed unsafe for the fixture to take place.
But no sooner had the match been cancelled than England were seen leaving their Tokyo hotel in Shinjuku, with Jones making the swift decision to take the squad back to Miyazaki where they held their pre-World Cup training camp – an remote area on Kyushu that will not be affected by the typhoon and is just a three-hour bus journey to Oita where they will play their quarter-final next weekend.
“We found out officially this morning but there were rumours flying around last night and we were glued to our phones,” Jones said. “We’re excited about the prospect of having great preparation for the quarter-final now. We did get some leeway over the next three days and so we are off to Miyazaki for a short pre-season camp and then we are off to Oita.
"We love Miyazaki, we love Miyazaki beef. We are Miyazaki beef consumers. We'll do a bit of light training Friday, have a good hit out Saturday, have some beef Saturday night, a few beers, and get ready for the week ahead.
"We can do a lot of different things. We are not concerned at all, we are excited, absolutely excited as it’s a great opportunity. Who would have thought we would have two relatively easy games, one tough game and then two weeks to prepare for a quarter-final. So someone is smiling on us – the typhoon gods maybe?"
England will attempt to transport as much of their large equipment consignment to Miyazaki as possible, with the rest of the load going on to Oita to prepare for the quarter-final clash likely to be against Australia.
However, while England are not concerned about the match cancellation, thousands of fans face World Cup heartbreak with the final weekend of pool matches heavily impacted.
Plenty of fans have flown into Tokyo this week to watch England’s match with France and Sunday’s game between Japan and Scotland, yet now face the prospect of spending hundreds or thousands only to be told to stay indoors throughout the weekend, seeing no rugby in the process.
“I have just been walking around the streets and there are a lot of people with disappointed faces,” Jones added. “It is difficult for them because it was going to be a special occasion and we feel for them and we are lucky to have such great supporters.
"It's not something you can control. This is the situation. I think it's a wonderful World Cup. You can't help typhoons, we would all like to think we've got the power above and beyond what's in the world at the moment, but we don't and these things happen and you just ride with it."