A tropical subject: Could typhoons hit Rugby World Cup?

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TOKYO: Namibia 0 New Zealand 0 at the Rugby World Cup! An improbable scoreline but one that could happen if their pool match is cancelled due to a typhoon.

The disruption caused in Tokyo in the early hours of Monday (Sep 9) by powerful typhoon Faxai has reignited questions about contingency planning for the Rugby World Cup, which starts in just 11 days.

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Here are some of the key questions as one of the world's natural disaster hotspots prepares to host one of the world's biggest sporting events.

A plaque advertising the 2019 Rugby World Cup is seen on the ground at the Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka, Japan. (Photo: REUTERS/Thomas White)

WHAT HAPPENS IF A GAME IS CALLED OFF?

The regulations vary depending on whether the match affected is during the pool stages or the knock-out phase of the competition.

According to section three of World Rugby's tournament rules for Japan 2019: "Where a pool match cannot be commenced on the day in which it is scheduled, it shall not be postponed to the following day, and shall be considered as cancelled."

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"In such situations, the result shall be declared a draw and teams will be allocated two match points each and no score registered."

With the tournament being hailed as one of the closest ever, this could have a dramatic impact on the initial phase.

From the quarter-finals onwards, there is some wiggle room, however.

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"Where a knock-out match cannot be commenced on the scheduled match day, it will be considered as postponed, and will be re-scheduled to be played within the two days following the scheduled match day, or such longer period as determined by RWCL (Rugby World Cup)," the regulations state.

COULD TYPHOONS AFFECT THE WORLD CUP?

The tournament – especially the early parts – is being played during prime typhoon season.

Faxai, which battered Tokyo on Monday with torrential rain and hurricane-force winds, was the 15th tropical storm of the year.

A man using an umbrella struggles against heavy rain and wind wind caused by Typhoon Faxai in Tokyo, Japan September 9, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato)

It has already had some impact on team preparations, as the Wallabies were forced to delay their arrival in Japan. France managed to touch down in Tokyo just before the storm hit.

Typhoons are not the only worry. Japan is one of the most seismically active countries on Earth and tournament organisers are also bracing for the possibility of an earthquake disrupting the schedule.

HOW ARE ORGANISERS PREPARING?

According to tournament director Alan Gilpin, contingency planning has been a huge part of the pre-competition activity.

"Our view is that you can plan for it. You've just got to make sure you've worked through all those different permutations," Gilpin told AFP in an interview earlier this year.

"We've got to be ready for the 'what ifs' … We've got contingency venue plans if we lose a venue to an earthquake or any kind of issue, (or) if we lose a major transport hub – because it's not just about venues."

HOW ARE TEAMS PREPARING?

England coach Eddie Jones, who would be familiar with Japan's extreme weather as a former coach of the Brave Blossoms, has been quoted as saying there is "no doubt" typhoons will have an impact on the World Cup.

He said the team would train indoors on artificial turf if weather conditions prevented them from playing outside.

The Rugby World Cup is being hosted by Japan during prime typhoo