Disappointed by the cancellation of the All Blacks' final Rugby World Cup pool match against Italy?

Spare a thought for veteran Azzurri hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini.

The 34-year-old reportedly broke down in tears during an Italian training session on Thursday, following the news that the clash in Toyota City would not go ahead because of safety fears prompted by the approaching Typhoon Hagibis.

Minutes earlier, World Rugby had announced the cancellation of at least two matches - the All Blacks/Italy clash, as well as England v France in Yokohama on Saturday - with the possibility of more cancellations to follow.

Advertisement

With the cancelled matches declared 0-0 draws, Steve Hansen's men take two points and will finish on top of Pool B ahead of South Africa.

Veteran Italian hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini was set for his international swansong against the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images
Veteran Italian hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini was set for his international swansong against the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images

Having beaten Canada and Namibia (but suffering a heavy defeat to South Africa), Italy still had an outside chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals, but will now finish third in the group on 12 points.

According to rugby writer Nik Simon, Ghiraldini could hardly hide his disappointment at the cancellation as he was set to play in his 105th - and final - test for the Italians.

Ghiraldini, who hasn't featured so far in Japan, had recently returned from a serious knee injury and was set for a 20-minute farewell against the All Blacks.

Premium gold

"In the chaos of Typhoon Hagibis, spare a thought for Italy. Ghiraldini was set for a 20min farewell cameo against NZ in the final rugby match of his 15yr career," Simon tweeted.

"He spent months rehabbing and broke down in tears when news of cancellation broke in training. Sombre mood in Toyota."

Addressing the media earlier on Thursday, World Rugby COO Alan Gilpin insisted the Italians weren't treated unfairly.

"We looked exhaustively at all the options over the last few days... [but] with so many matches this weekend being potentially impacted, so many teams to move around the country to do that and also being able to safely exit 12 teams from Japan after the pool, phase…we couldn't guarantee consistent contingency plans across those for all the teams and the fans involved," he said.

Advertisement

"All teams signed up to the participation agreement for the tournament, all teams were well aware of the tournament rules and that [possible legal action against World Rugby] is not a concern for us."