Heartbreak for competition winner as England Rugby World Cup match cancelled

By Megan Archer | Wordsley | News | Published:

"He has taken it in his stride but he's obviously devastated as he will never get this opportunity again."

Rhys Jones had won a top competition to deliver the match ball in the Rugby World Cup

Wordsley teenager Rhys Jones had jetted off to Japan after winning a major competition to deliver the match ball at the England vs France Rugby World Cup game.

But devastatingly, the match was cancelled this morning due to the approach of a super typhoon.

His father Gavin Jones said Rhys was "absolutely heartbroken" – the 14-year-old was looking forward to the "opportunity of a lifetime", walking out onto the pitch in front of 70,000 people for the England vs France game.

The course of the typhoon was shown during a press conference held in Japan on Thursday morning

Gavin said: "We had warned Rhys before coming out that this may potentially be the case but we had our fingers crossed the storm would change its direction or lose power.

"Unfortunately it hasn't."

The family – mother Victoria and 12-year-old brother Will snapped up some last minute tickets to come along too – are all stuck in Japan. They have been told to stay in their hotel to stay safe from the storm.

The youngster, who currently plays centre – or number eight – for Walsall Rugby Club won the DHL Rugby Moments that Deliver competition, and couldn't believe his luck.


The competition covered Rhys and rugby coach Gavin for the travel and hotel stay, but didn't cover his other family members – which led to Gavin having to queue for five hours online for extra match tickets.

Rhys Jones and dad Gavin

The family forked out for travel, tickets, and a hotel so everyone could watch.

"It's turned into a very expensive weekend away doing some sight seeing and storm chasing," added Gavin.


And to add to the stress, the family also recently lost a holiday worth £5,000 to Florida pre-booked for next year, as it was booked through the now collapsed Thomas Cook.

"Obviously this left us double devastated," said 40-year-old Gavin. "We are having a nightmare with it now and at present are about £5,000 down.

"Complications with how we booked it have made it all the more difficult for us, so that combined with all the money gone to waste on the trip has just compounded everything unfortunately."

The family are nervous about how the storm might affect their 12-hour flight from Japan back home as well.

"We arrived on Thursday morning to a beautiful sunny day, the calm before the storm. It has been lovely, we checked in to a great hotel and have been out for the day in Kawasaki, the nearest city to us.

"We were hoping to visit Tokyo as well but the forecast is rain all day with the Typhoon apparently hitting us Saturday. We have been advised not to leave the hotel on Saturday so hopefully it will blow over Sunday."

Ken and Rosie Marshall from Birmingham, were on honeymoon in Japan and were due to watch England v France before it was cancelled.

Meanwhile rugby fans Ken and Rosie Marshall from Birmingham, were on honeymoon in Japan and were due to watch England v France before it was cancelled.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email


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