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Friday 20 September 2019

England World Cup squad stranded at airport for five hours amid Toyko travel chaos

England head coach Eddie Jones and his squad have been left stranded at Tokyo airport. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
England head coach Eddie Jones and his squad have been left stranded at Tokyo airport. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Duncan Bech in Tokyo

England's Rugby World Cup squad have fallen victim to the chaotic fallout from Typhoon Faxai that left them stranded at Narita International Airport for five hours.

Eddie Jones' squad were marooned as a result of the damage caused by the ferocious winds of 105mph and torrential rain that battered Tokyo overnight.

Scores of flights were cancelled, while Australia delayed their arrival in order to avoid one of the worst storms in the Japanese capital's history.

England's flight landed shortly after its scheduled time, but it was then that their problems began.

Following an hour-long wait before disembarking from their British Airways plane due to the shortage of buses, they were then told that their transfer into Tokyo was unable to reach the airport because of congestion.

Main roads feeding Narita - which lies 66km away from the team hotel in Shiodome - were gridlocked because of the destruction caused by the typhoon, while all trains were suspended.

A man rides a moped through a flooded street due to a typhoon in Tokyo today. Photo: Kyodo News/AP
A man rides a moped through a flooded street due to a typhoon in Tokyo today. Photo: Kyodo News/AP

In contrast Haneda Airport, which is 20km distance from Tokyo, suffered only minimal disruption and was also serviced by a British Airways flight that left London Heathrow on Sunday.

When their coaches eventually arrived after hours spent waiting in the business lounge, England headed to Shiodome where they will stay one night before departing for a pre-tournament training camp in Miyazaki.

Adding to their troubled arrival into Japan was a rebuke from World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper for comments made by Jones last month.

Shortly after Wales had been dispatched at Twickenham on August 11, Jones launched an incoherent attack on the sport's global overlords for the inconsistency of referees, the absence of common sense when making decisions and a lack of clarity over the dangerous tackle law.

A week later the Australian, part of a panel that in 2016 advised the governing body what measures should be taken as part of a zero tolerance policy to reckless and accidental head contact, compared World Rugby to "Big Brother".

When asked about Jones' remarks, Gosper said: "You can't help but smile sometimes! These coaches are under a lot of pressure.

"They're very results orientated and they don't want to let anything get in the way of them achieving what they need to achieve.

"Sometimes that means pointing the finger elsewhere. I get that. What we're concerned about is that coaches are no different to players in that they should respect the referees.

"If they have any issues around refereeing then they should go through the appropriate channels in the appropriate way.

"If they want to talk about World Rugby, then hopefully it's founded on some fact rather than just hearsay."

Online Editors

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