It has been a week of drama in Japan and Typhoon Hagibis has caused even more carnage, with two of Saturday’s matches called off due to the danger predicted.
Rugby will pale into insignificance at the weekend should the Typhoon cause the suggested devastation, but New Zealand and England already know their games will not be going ahead on Saturday.
Ireland’s match against Samoa is still scheduled to proceed, but Yokohama and Toyota are set to the centre of the Typhoon impact.
New Zealand v Italy
City of Toyota Stadium – Pool B
Defending champions New Zealand will have respite on Saturday with their match against Italy being the first one to be cancelled, but Italy are boarding a flight home rather dismayed.
Stalwart Sergio Parisse has spoken out fiercely claiming tournament rules may have been changed should the All Blacks have been the ones needing five points in a cynical outburst.
The Azzurri boss Conor O’Shea was likewise infuriated, but admits the chances were slender, yet called on World Rugby to be consistent in the application of the rules.
England v France
International Stadium Yokohama – Pool C
England too are offered a reprieve from action on Saturday, with their Pool C decider against France also cancelled.
England proceed as Pool C winners and will wait to discover their quarter-final fate, with Eddie Jones’ side set to face the runner-up in Pool D, which is set to be either Wales or Australia.
France will then face the winner of Pool D in the last eight.
Ireland v Samoa
Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium – Pool A
Home Nation Ireland will be in action on Saturday as things stand, with a crucial clash against Samoa in Pool A.
Japan enter the final round of action as Pool A leaders with 14 points, leaving Ireland vulnerable on 11 points in second place – Scotland just one point adrift in third place ahead of their showdown with tournament hosts Japan on Sunday.
A bonus-point win protects Ireland and ensures they are certain of a place in the quarter-finals and will be the only option for Joe Schmidt.
Matches odds with Coral: Ireland 1/40 Draw 50/1 Samoa 16/1
Ben’s Prediction: Ireland win by 30 points