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Rugby star prays for relatives in Japan following typhoon

Mako Vunipola expressed his concern for family members who had travelled to Tokyo in support of England's rugby world cup fixture against France, after the nation's biggest hurricane for 61 years approached landfall on Saturday.

The match originally scheduled for Saturday was cancelled and the England prop, together with his squad were flown 700 miles from the area, as 1,000,000 people were warned to leave their homes ahead of Typhoon Higibis.

Vunipola said he feared for the relatives who had remained in Tokyo saying: "We have families and friends there. That was probably the hardest thing to deal with - realising that the game wouldn't be on and trying to make plans for them."

"Japan are pretty used to typhoons and they have regulations to deal with it, so it's just a case of them doing as they're told and us hoping and praying that they're safe."

"I just hope the damage isn't too much and people are OK," he added.

Exeter Chiefs Luke Cowen Dickie, took to social media to warn fans in Tokyo to "stay safe".

In a video posted on twitter he said: "We are sorry we can't be there playing ... but the main priority is that you are safe."

19 people have been reported dead and a further 16 are missing after some victims were buried in landslides and swept away by raging rivers.

Boats and helicopters have been dispatched to rescue people from deluged homes a massive relief operation gets underway.

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