In 1995, South Africa and France played a World Cup semi-final in swamp-like conditions

Remembering the wettest game in Rugby World Cup history

Back in 1995, the Rugby World Cup semi-final between hosts South Africa and France was postponed by over an hour as the pitch was cleared of lying water. The match-up still went ahead but it was a wet and wild ride.

Rugby World Cup organisers have decided to cancel fixtures in this year’s competition in Japan, on safety grounds, because of Super Typhoon Hagibis. However, we take a look back at one of the most curious moments in the competitions history when South Africa and France played in calmer, but sodden conditions.

Remembering the wettest game in Rugby World Cup history

Clearing the water: Local women help out before the game (Getty Images)

The Springboks clawed their way to a 19-15 win in the heavy rain, despite a late rally by the French. Had the match been postponed, the Boks would have gone out of their own competition thanks to their inferior disciplinary record – such were the rules.

The Springboks scored through Ruben Kruger and then leant on the reliable boot of Joel Stransky. He and Les Bleus kicker Thierry Lacroix exchanged three-pointers and it was noted that both regularly had to move their kicking tees to areas where they could actually place the ball and achieve a run-up…

Remembering the wettest game in Rugby World Cup history

Splashdown: Francois Pienaar goes for the ball (Getty Images)

Many will be shocked that game went ahead, but since then we have seen several big matches get postponed in major competitions.

Related: Reaction to cancellation of Rugby World Cup games

Remember in 2012 Six Nations when,  just two minutes after kick-off time at the Stade de France the game was abandoned because the pitch was frozen?

What you may not know is that a match between Georgia and Russia was abandoned in August. The Russians did not travel to Georgia, saying that demonstrations of “radical persons” in Tbilisi would “lead to public disorder and can pose threat to life and health of those people staying”.

And you may not know that in 2015 Eddie Jones’s Japan side had to take a 0-0 draw with Hong Kong thanks to a tropical storm.

This weekend sees something totally different on the way, though. With the extreme conditions heading towards Japan now, we hope that all safety advice is headed by those in the country, in the build up.

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