'Weird' feeling after game is cancelled
WORLD CUP REACTION: Canada captain Tyler Ardron said he was left with a “pretty disappointing” and “weird” feeling after Typhoon Hagibis forced the cancellation of his side’s final match.
Organisers said they had “no option” but to call off Sunday’s Pool B match in Kamaishi between Canada and Namibia, following landslides and flooding in the vicinity of the stadium.
They had already axed Saturday’s fixtures between England and France and Italy and New Zealand because of safety fears caused by the approach of Hagibis.
Tournament rules state pool matches that are called off won’t be postponed.
Both teams were targeting their all-Tier Two clash as a chance for a rare World Cup success.
Canada is without a win in their last 10 World Cup matches, while Namibia was looking to achieve their first win at the global showpiece and end a record run of 22 games at the tournament without a victory.
“I don’t think it’s really set in yet,” Ardron told reporters in Kamaishi on Sunday.
“Everyone is still trying to process that, especially guys like DTH [van der Merwe], who probably had his chance to score a try in four World Cups in a row in this game, and isn’t going to get a chance to even take the field, so I think it’s pretty disappointing.
“It still feels weird,” added the back row forward, who plays for the Waikato-based Chiefs in Super Rugby.
Looking ahead, Ardron said the development of the US-based Major League Rugby club competition could benefit Canadian rugby.
“This Rugby Union will grow. MLR [Major League Rugby] is going well. There are players going oversees. I think we’ve got some really exciting opportunities.”
Meanwhile, Namibia coach Phil Davies, who would have been up against a fellow former Wales international in Canada boss Kingsley Jones if the game had gone ahead, backed the “logical” cancellation given “safety is paramount”.
“I’ve never seen so much rain and being from Wales we see a lot of rain, but it’s been phenomenal and it was the right decision.”
Reflecting on Namibia’s form at the World Cup, Davies highlighted their performance against New Zealand.
“Although the scoreboard was unkind in the end [the All Blacks won 71-9], to be 10-9 with the world champions after 35 minutes was a testament to how far the players have come over the past four years.”
He added the biggest challenge now facing Namibia was to “grow the game”.
“There are some tremendous clubs in Namibia but to go from seven to 10 clubs in the next four-year cycle, to go from 900 players to 4,000 playing the game and also establish a quality sevens programme would be amazing.”