Head coach says England are upset by the cancellation of their World Cup match against France but back World ’s decision.

Organisers called Saturday’s game off on Thursday with Typhoon Hagibis set to bring violent winds and torrential rain to Tokyo and Yokohama at the weekend.

“Everyone’s disappointed – we wanted to play against France,” said Jones.

“We have put a lot of physical work, emotional, tactical work into it, but the situation is one we don’t control.”

With the game now to be recorded as a scoreless draw, giving each team two points, England will top Group C and are likely to meet in the quarter-finals on 19 October.

What has been announced?

  • OFF: England v France and New Zealand v Italy (Saturday).
  • ON: Ireland v Samoa (11:45 BST, Sat) and v Georgia (Fri) both set to go ahead.
  • ON AS IT STANDS: All four Sunday games – including Scotland v Japan (11:45 BST) – but a review will be made on Sunday morning depending on the damage caused by the typhoon.

‘We’re just getting on with it’

Rumours emerged on Wednesday night in Japan that England’s game might be switched to Oita, on the southern island of Kyushu, and be played behind closed doors.

But with the situation deteriorating and concerns growing about the safety of players, spectators and volunteers, tournament director Alan Gilpin and his team made the call to cancel both England’s game and New Zealand against Italy, with Scotland’s must-win game against Japan on Sunday also in doubt.

Jones said: “You can’t help typhoons. The Japanese have a saying – ‘shikata ga nai’ (‘nothing can be helped’).

“We all like to think we’ve got power above and beyond what’s on the world at the moment, but we don’t – these things happen and you just ride with it.

“World has made a decision and we’ve got no issue with it and we’re just getting on with it now.”

England will now fly to Miyazaki, in the southern island of Kyushu, where they were based for their pre-tournament training camp.

They will train there over the weekend before heading to Oita on Monday, a three-hour journey by coach.

Tens of thousands of fans have been arriving in the Japanese capital for what was expected to be the biggest weekend of the tournament so far, with organisers pledging a full refund for those who had tickets for the 70,000-capacity Yokohama stadium.

Jones said: “I’ve just been walking around the streets and there are lots of people with disappointed faces.

“It’s difficult for them, because this was going to be a special occasion, and we feel for them. We’re lucky to have such great supporters.

“We found out officially this morning. There were rumours flying around last night so we were glued to our phones last night.

“We were preparing for the game, and when the game was on we were in game mode, and when the game was off we were on preparation mode.

“We can’t control it. We’re told what to do. We’re participants in the tournament so we’re told what to do.”

The cancellation means England will go into the quarter-finals relatively untested after two straightforward wins over Tier Two nations in Tonga and USA and a thumping of 14-man Argentina.

They will also have a 14-day gap between matches, but Jones said his side would not arrive in the knockout stages undercooked.

“We’ve got a fairly exceptional record in two-week preparations. I think we’re batting at about 95%, so we’ve got to find 5% from somewhere,” said Jones.

“Our players have got the opportunity now to build the tank up and then empty it on Saturday week against whoever we’re playing, so that’s a fantastic opportunity for us.

“We’re not concerned at all. We’ve absolutely excited.

“Who would think we would have two relatively easy games, one tougher one and then have two weeks to prepare for a quarter-final?”

The typhoon is expected to clear by Sunday morning, when tournament bosses will stage a comprehensive review to see if the four scheduled games – including Scotland’s crunch clash with hosts Japan – can proceed as planned.

The deadline for a decision is six hours before kick-off.


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