Eddie Jones joked the “typhoon gods” must be smiling on England after a tropical storm caused the cancellation of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup clash with France.
England were set to play their final Pool C match in Yokohama on Saturday, but with Typhoon Hagibis set to make landfall, the game – along with New Zealand’s meeting with Italy – has been called off. Japan’s crunch Pool A contest with Scotland on Sunday is also under threat.
Although Jones is disappointed the France match will not go ahead, he said the extra time to prepare for a quarter-final against Australia or Wales has given his side a fantastic opportunity to be at their best in the knockout stage.
“Of course, everyone is disappointed not to play against France. We put a lot of work, tactical, physical and emotional work, into it,” Jones told a news conference.
“We are disappointed, but the situation is a situation that we don’t control. World Rugby has made a decision, so we have just got to get on with it now.
“We’re not concerned at all, we’re excited, absolutely excited. [It’s a] great opportunity. Who would have thought we’d have had 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.”
“Today we have taken the very difficult decision to cancel two Rugby World Cup pool matches”
World Rugby COO and #RWC2019 Tournament Director Alan Gilpin gives an update regarding the predicted impact of Typhoon Hagibis on this weekend’s pool matches at Rugby World Cup 2019. pic.twitter.com/YHns1B1iyS
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 10, 2019
Following the news of the cancellation, England decided to head back to their training base in Miyazaki, which is not in the typhoon’s path.
“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.”