The Latest: All Blacks say cancelled game ‘a no-brainer’

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 21 at the typhoon-affected Rugby World Cup (all times local):

2 p.m.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said cancelling their pool match with Italy was “a no-brainer.”

The All Blacks were informed in the morning that it was off, and they still went out and trained.

“When you get a typhoon to the level we’re getting, then safety is the paramount thing so it’s a no-brainer,” Hansen said. “The most important thing that happens now is how we adapt and adjust to it.”

The cancellation meant the defending champion All Blacks advanced to the quarterfinals next week ahead of Italy. They will know their opponent on Sunday, either Ireland, Japan, or Scotland.

Captain Kieran Read said they were disappointed for themselves and Italy, and the fans.

“Of course we’d want this game in terms of game-time and things,” Read said. “But we’ve been around this game a long time, trained a lot together and we’re ready to go next week. It’s got no bearing on how we turn up next week and we’re excited by it.”

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12 p.m.

The powerful typhoon that has caused the first ever cancellation of Rugby World Cup games has ended Italy’s prospects of reaching the quarterfinals and could upset Scotland’s chances of progressing to the knockout stages as well.

Rugby World Cup organizers announced that two games scheduled for Saturday — the Pool C decider between England and France in Yokohama and the Pool B game between defending champion New Zealand and Italy in the city of Toyota — were canceled because of the anticipated impact of Typhoon Hagibis.

Sunday’s game in Yokohama between host Japan and Scotland could also be scrapped, depending on the weather.

The Japan Meteorological Agency is warning the powerful typhoon may bring torrential rain and strong winds to central parts of the country over Saturday and Sunday, coinciding with the last round of World Cup pool games. It has urged people to take precautions to avoid potentially life-threatening danger. Airlines and train services anticipate cancellations in what is expected to be the most destructive typhoon of 2019.

World Rugby tournament director Alan Gilpin said organizers had looked at all options, including moving the Yokohama and Toyota games to other venues, but it wasn’t logistically possible in a fair way to all teams.

All games canceled because of weather are logged as scoreless draws and each team will get two competition points, meaning Italy cannot finish better than third in Pool B and England will top Pool C without having to play France, despite both teams being unbeaten.

Friday’s Pool D game between Australia and Georgia at Shizuoka and Saturday’s game between Ireland and Samoa at Fukuoka will go ahead as scheduled.

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