World Rugby squashes rumours that All Blacks refused to reschedule

By Jamie Wall

Ben Smith and Samuel Whitelock

The All Blacks versus Italy match was never going to be postponed and played at a later date, World Rugby confirmed today. This is contrary to reports out of the UK that the All Blacks were offered the option of playing the Italians on Monday, after Typhoon Hagibis had been forecast to have left the Japanese east coast.

"Monday was not on the cards. We have to treat all teams/matches fairly, not the few, and that was central to our contingency plans process relating to a dynamic and complex adverse weather situation." said a statement from World Rugby.

The powerful storm is expected to make landfall sometime on Saturday, and rugby games are not the only thing being affected. The Shinkansen bullet train service that runs from Tokyo has been suspended tomorrow, meaning massive travel disruptions for many locals and tourists alike.

Japan Airlines will cancel at least 90 percent of domestic flights to and from Tokyo's Haneda and Narita Airports, while it is likely that the city’s train services will also grind to a halt.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has said that

“The government is strengthening its vigilance against the typhoon. For Typhoon Faxai, the Abe administration was accused of holding no meeting of related ministers before or after its landfall.

"On Thursday, the government held a disaster management meeting among officials from ministries and agencies concerned, confirming related matters such as dispatching personnel to local governments and securing emergency power sources in the event of outages."

Faxai, which hit Japan last month, killed three people and injured 147. Almost 400,000 were evacuated from their homes. 

Meanwhile, the All Blacks have spent today moving away from their hotel in Tokyo Bay and into the city. Captain Kieran Read said that the team will stay indoors throughout Saturday and resume training if the weather improves on Sunday.

Their potential quarterfinal opponents meet on Sunday, however the fate of the Japan versus Scotland game hangs in the balance of the typhoon’s path.