Storm will not blow us off course say England
PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 October 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
England insist their World Cup bid will not be blown off course by the threat Super Typhoon Hagibis poses to their Pool C decider against France on Saturday.
World Rugby is expected to announce today if the clash at International Stadium Yokohama must be cancelled due to the storm arrowing towards the south coast of Japan.
Hagibis has escalated from a tropical storm into a category five super typhoon with winds of 180mph into one of the most dramatic intensifications of any tropical cyclone since records began.
Satellite images of the extreme weather event reveal it is the size of Japan and shows no sign of deviating its path or decreasing in magnitude.
It is many times the dimensions of Typhoon Faxai, which brought Tokyo to a standstill on the day of England's arrival for the World Cup, delaying their exit from Narita Airport by six hours, leaving a million homes without power and killing three.
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While England and France have already guaranteed their places in the knockout phase, it would mean they enter the quarter-finals having not played for a fortnight - potentially leaving them undercooked.
"One thing we really pride ourselves on is being adaptable and flexible for anything that may throw us off," defence coach John Mitchell said. "If there are other factors that are outside our control, we'll find another way to prepare very well.
"Ultimately though, we're looking forward to playing France and that's where our focus is. It's where our preparation is totally focused and we don't let that noise enter our preparation. It is not something we decide - it's World Rugby's decision."
England are due to announce their team to face France this morning and even if the game does go ahead, Billy Vunipola, Joe Marler and Jack Nowell will almost certainly be missing.
Vunipola, the Saracens number eight Eddie Jones dare not lose, twisted his left ankle against Argentina last Saturday and it is hoped he will recover in time for a quarter-final against Wales or Australia.
Marler and Nowell were also hurt against the Pumas and England are unlikely to take any risks with back and hamstring injuries respectively.
Meanwhile, captain Owen Farrell, Vunipola's Saracens teammate, has also been struggling with a stomach bug this week.