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World Cup organisers warn of typhoon approaching Japan

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TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) – World Cup organisers have briefed both France and the United States on “contingency options” for their Pool C match in Fukuoka on Wednesday if the game is affected by Typhoon Mitag, which is developing off the south-west coast of Japan.

The Japan Meteorological Agency was monitoring Mitag’s predicted path and it could bring high winds and rain to the southern island of Kyushu on Wednesday, organisers said.

“The latest information indicates that the typhoon is moving further away from Japan’s coastline than originally predicted and the impact risk is reducing,” World Rugby said in a statement on Sunday.

“However, in the best interests of the teams and the integrity of the tournament, we have informed France and the USA of the contingency plans in the event that adverse weather means that it is not possible to play the match in Fukuoka on the scheduled date.”

World Rugby’s tournament rules dictate that if a match is disrupted by adverse weather then it is cancelled and considered a draw with both sides awarded two points.

Organisers said they would continue to monitor the typhoon and update teams and fans on Monday.

New Zealand and Canada are also in Kyushu for their match on Wednesday, although the game is at Oita on the north-eastern corner of the island.

Several typhoons make landfall on Japan’s four main islands every year and the World Cup is being held in peak typhoon season.

On Sept. 9, a storm roared ashore just east of Tokyo, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people and causing transport delays for people travelling to and from Narita airport.

Several teams arriving for the World Cup were either delayed at Narita or temporarily postponed their initial travel to Japan to miss the storm’s impact.

Organisers also issued a similar warning last week about Tropical Storm Tapah, that threatened to upset the first weekend’s matches although it had little impact and all the games went ahead as planned.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Oita; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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