England stranded at airport for five hours amid Tokyo travel chaos

Eddie Jones’ World Cup hopefuls arrived in Japan on Monday

By Press Association Published: 9 September 2019 - 11.29am


Rugby Union

Eddie Jones

England’s quest to lift the World Cup got off to an inauspicious start after they fell 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 31-man squad have been delayed on their arrival in Japan
England’s 31-man squad have been delayed on their arrival in Japan (Steve Parsons/PA)

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.

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.

Trains in Japan were suspended on Monday
Trains in Japan were suspended on Monday (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

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 told the PA news agency: “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.

Brett Gosper
Brett Gosper is World Rugby chief executive (Ian West/PA)

“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.”