Wallabies and England hunker down
WORLD CUP SPOTLIGHT: Japan’s extreme weather has forced the Wallabies to return to a familiar base to prepare for their probable quarterfinal showdown with England.
It’s back to the start for Australia and probable quarterfinal opponents England, who will build up to their showdown in isolated training bases.
The chaos wreaked on the tournament by super typhoon Hagibis has extended to this Saturday’s knockout match in Oita, the southern city where both teams had intended to prepare fully through the week.
The forecast extreme weather resulted in England’s final pool match against France being cancelled, prompting coach Eddie Jones to send his team straight to the resort town of Miyazaki, where they were based before the tournament kicked off.
Australia has followed suit and will spend more than half of their eight-day preparation period in Odawara, a city that sits between Tokyo and Shizuoka, the venue for Friday’s final pool game win over Georgia.
The Wallabies experienced an entertaining late-night bus ride soon after the full-time whistle, negotiating some Shizuoka streets that were soon to become flooded.
They were in bed in Odawara by about 03.00, having enjoyed the sort of team trip not common in the professional era.
After a post-match meal on the bus, vice-captain Samu Kerevi revealed some music was “jamming” amid a lively atmosphere arose.
“It was raining pretty hard, we put the windows down and tried to taste the rain. It was an awesome trip,” Kerevi said.
“But halfway through, guys were out on their feet, just sleeping, just really tired.
“There’s no complaint from the boys; we understand you can’t tell a typhoon to go away. We are happy to be here and safe.”
Kerevi said the players appreciated the familiarity of Odawara, which was dubbed “Odawallaby” during last month’s 10-day build-up period.
They won over locals, who attended events and training sessions in big numbers.
There was to be no training on Saturday because of the impact of Hagibis, which was forecast to hit the Odawara area in the early evening with full force.
England, in the deep south, has sidestepped the typhoon’s path.
They will face Australia in the knockout phase unless Uruguay pulls off a giant upset by beating Wales on Sunday in pool play.