Eddie Jones said on Thursday the "typhoon gods" were smiling on England after World Rugby confirmed his side's final Pool C match against France in Yokohama had been cancelled because of the incoming super typhoon Hagibis, effectively giving his squad a two-week preparation period for the quarter-finals.

The cancellation of Saturday's match, when the typhoon is expected to make landfall in the Tokyo area, was confirmed to England by World Rugby on Thursday morning.

Jones, who had been due to announce his team to face France today, immediately put in place plans to relocate the squad to the coastal resort of Miyazaki, on the Kyushu island, which should be unaffected by the typhoon, where England staged their pre-tournament training camp in September.

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The England squad were due to fly to Miyazaki from Tokyo on Thursday night, but will now travel to Oita on Monday, which will involve a three-hour coach journey. England play their quarter-final in Oita, which is expected to be against Australia, on the following Saturday.

"We found out officially this morning but there were rumours flying around last night and we were glued to our phones," said Jones of the cancellation.

"We are preparing for the game and we were in game mode and when it was off, we are in preparation mode. We can't control it and we are told what to do.

"We excited about the prospect of having great preparation for the quarter-final now. We did get some leeway over the next three days and so we are off to Miyazaki for a short pre-season camp and then we are off to Oita. "

"We have a fairly exceptional record in two-week preparations - we are batting at around 95 per cent - and so we have to find 5 per cent from somewhere. Of course, everyone is disappointed we are not playing France and we put a lot of work - emotional, physical and tactical - into that, but we don't control the situation and World Rugby has made a decision and we have no issue with it and are just getting on with it."

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Tens of thousands of England supporters have arrived in the Japanese capital this week for what was supposed to be the defining fixture of the side's qualifying campaign, and are now instead facing the prospect of the city going into lockdown as it braces itself for what is expected to be one of the worst typhoons to have hit Japan.

"I have just been walking around the streets and there are a lot of people with disappointed faces," Jones added. "It is difficult for them because it was going to be a special occasion and we feel for them and we are lucky to have such great supporters."

Eddie Jones. Photo / Photosport
Eddie Jones. Photo / Photosport

England will now use their mini-camp in Miyazaki to replicate a test-match intensity training session on Saturday.


"It's the only chance we've got mate because that's the only preparation we've got. So why worry about whether if it's a better chance or a not-so-good chance. That's the only chance we've got, so we're prepared to take it.

"It's not something you can control. This is the situation. I think it's a wonderful World Cup. You can't help typhoons, we would all like to think we've got the power above and beyond what's on the world at the moment, but we don't and these things happen and you just ride with it.

"We'll do a bit of light training Friday, have a good hit out Saturday, have some beef Saturday night, a few beers, and get ready for the week ahead.

"We can do a lot of different things mate. We are not concerned at all, we are excited, absolutely excited, a great opportunity.

"Who would have thought we would have two relatively easy games, one tough game and then two weeks to prepare for a quarter-final. So someone is smiling on us - the typhoon gods maybe?

Jones added: "Our players have got this opportunity now to build the tank up and empty it on Saturday week against whoever we are playing. So that's a fantastic opportunity for us.

"It just goes to show what you can do at the World Cup. I thought that was one of the best displays of rugby I've ever seen, I'm talking as a fan now.

"And so I know the fans will be disappointed not seeing our game, but there's been some great rugby at this World Cup and I think that's what we should concentrate on."