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Martin Devlin: World Rugby made the right call cancelling matches

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Friday, 11 October 2019, 12:44PM

I've thrown a few brickbats at World Rugby so here's a small bouquet.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, did they have any other decision to make than cancel these World Cup matches?

Time will tell, and soon, as to whether they've completely over-reacted here but given the information they have about Typhoon Hagibis who can really criticise the organisation for making safety their #1 priority?

Predicting weather in the year 2019 is a helluva lot different than it was decades ago when we all religiously gleaned our forecasts from the end of the 6pm TV news.

Back in those days the standing joke was whatever the prediction was then pretty much expect the opposite to eventuate.

Nowadays the experts can  pinpoint time, day, windspeed, rainfall with exacting detail and it's armed with this kind of knowledge that forced WR to play its hand.

Which of course is a gamble because, by nature, it can't be anything else.

Worst case scenario for the cup organisers is that the typhoon eases off, misses its marks and passes without half the fury or disruption at this stage estimated.

And if it does is that then WR's fault? Back to the rock vs hard place thing.

Yes, questions have to be asked around the wisdom of even scheduling a world championship in a country at a time of year known as "typhoon season". 

Yet the governing body would've undertaken its own RMA (Risk Management  Assessment) when awarding the tournament to Japan and decided, rightly or wrongly, that the risk was worth taking. Sadly on Thursday 10th October 2019 that decision, that risk, came home to roost.

And, again, to be fair to WR this isn't just a bad storm, run-of-the-mill hurricane or even moderate-sized typhoon bringing its worst to bear. Hagibis is being described as "the biggest storm in the world this year" and/or the nastiest of its kind to hit the Japanese mainland in 60 years.

So, again, what else could the organisers do apart from the very sensible thing they've just done. In time questions will have to be answered about lay-days, contingency plans and the absolute nightmare scenario of what if this typhoon was predicted for next week's knockout games and not a few, mostly insignificant, pool matches.

But right now let's just presume World Rugby have done the right thing.

For an organisation that struggles to put an administrative egg on a pre-planned piece of toast their credibility, or what's left of it following what's been a red card fiasco, rests on the next 48 hours of weather fury.

To cancel games at any tournament like this is unprecedented. It's a huge decision they've made and I, like I'm sure every other rugby fan on the planet, is just grateful it's one we didn't have to make. I’m grateful it wasn't me that had to make that.

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