Rugby World Cup: England fans ‘upset’ with cancellation of France match

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Thousands of England fans have travelled to Japan for the Rugby World Cup

Thousands of England fans have been left disappointed after the side’s final Rugby World Cup pool match was cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis.

A near capacity crowd of 70,000 was expected at Saturday’s game, which is being played in Yokohama, about 20 miles south of Tokyo, but plans have changed as the storm is expected to make landfall in the area on Saturday.

Here are some of their stories…

Honeymoon plans disrupted

Karl Green and his wife Shannan had hoped to begin their honeymoon at the fixture in Yokohama, about 20 miles south of the capital.

The couple were in Heathrow waiting for their flight to Tokyo when they got the news that this would not be possible.

“We got married in May and planned our delayed honeymoon over a year ago so we could watch England in the World Cup,” said Karl, from Essex.

“We’ve spent £2,000 for four days in Japan and are extremely upset as it seems there hasn’t been any contingency plan, although we appreciate you couldn’t have predicted the weather and safety of fans is paramount.”

“We are absolutely devastated.”

The 27-year-olds will fly on to New Zealand on Tuesday, but will not get the chance to see any live World Cup rugby before then.

‘Like a slow-motion car crash’

Fans have told BBC Radio 5 live how their plans had been thrown into chaos.

Rebecca in Epsom: I’m terrified. I’m supposed to be flying tomorrow morning from Heathrow and land in Tokyo at 7am on Saturday which means flying into the eye of the storm.

“The flight is in question, never mind the game, but there must be a contingency plan for the game. The flight is all set to go and I imagine they won’t do anything about the flight until I’m sat in the seat.”

Pete at Manchester Airport: “I have been planning for over 12 months and I have been looking forward to it.

“We have been watching the hurricane approach like a slow-motion car crash for the last two or three days. We were going to England v France and managed to get tickets for the Scotland game as well, and that was our contingency, so if that falls through as well, we will be spending a lot of time in the hotel bar drowning our sorrows.”

Thousands of England fans were set to watch England play France in Yokohama

‘Everything is in limbo’

Ollie Bunting has been in Japan for a week with two friends and had planned to watch the France match this weekend after seeing England v Argentina.

“We’re currently staying in Hakone and were originally meant to be here until Saturday morning before travelling to Yokohama for the match,” he said.

“In light of the weather this has had to change and we are now leaving tomorrow afternoon. Our flight out is meant to be at 2am on Sunday but it looks like this could be in serious jeopardy now.

“With no place booked to stay on Saturday night, we will now probably look to head straight to Haneda International Airport on Friday afternoon seeing as we have been advised not to venture outside all day Saturday.

“Obviously we are all very upset about the rugby match but the mood has quickly changed as we try and comprehend what nature of events we might be about to face on Saturday.

“In terms of official advice locally, the RFU and British Foreign Office we have received very little information. Other than that, everything else seems to be up in the air.”

‘I brought my flight forward to escape the typhoon’

Some supporters have at least managed to catch England’s other pool games. Londoner Nick Miller watched them beat Argentina 39-10 to qualify for the quarter-finals, which take place on 19 and 20 October.

Miller arrived in Japan a week ago and was due to return to London on Sunday, but has switched his flight to Saturday “to escape before the typhoon hits”.

The 46-year-old is not letting the change of plan dampen his spirits too much though.

“We’ve had an amazing time,” he said. “I’ve never been somewhere as welcoming and the tournament is really well organised.

“I’ve seen a bunch of people already ranting about the cancellations. I suspect they don’t fully get the reality of a typhoon.

“Of course it’s spoilt the experience to an extent, but it’s not like we can change anything.”

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