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Organizers: Typhoon had ‘minor’ effect on RWC prep

AFP TOKYO (AFP-Jiji) — The typhoon that scored a direct hit on Tokyo with less than two weeks until the start of the Rugby World Cup had only a “minor” impact on preparations, organizers said Monday.

Typhoon No. 15, which pummeled the Kanto region with record winds and torrential rain, reignited concerns about the potential impact of Japan’s extreme weather on the seven-week World Cup that kicks off on Sept. 20.

Organizing committee spokesman Nicholas Van Santen said that an initial study into the typhoon had shown “some minor impact on venues and team camps.”

Some teams — notably the Australians — were delayed in their arrival, while England and its coach Eddie Jones also experienced some minor typhoon-related delays.

There were also small changes to the schedules of the arriving Tongan and Georgian teams.

However, France managed to sneak in just before the onset of the typhoon, while the three-time champion New Zealand arrived later Monday after the storm had spiraled out to sea.

Van Santen said organizers had been monitoring the typhoon closely and analyzing it with the tournament’s weather information providers and the relevant Japanese authorities.

“We are working closely with the teams concerned to minimize any impact from these delays,” he said.

Due to the packed schedule in the initial pool phase, tournament rules state that if a match cannot be played, it is cancelled and recorded as a draw — a system that could have a huge impact on what is expected to be a close-run competition.

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