The Latest: Mafi back for Japan, Labuschagne captain

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 7 of the Rugby World Cup (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

Japan has made six changes, two of them positional, to the starting side that beat Russia for the Pool A match against Ireland on Saturday in Shizuoka.

Captain and flanker Michael Leitch, prop Asaeli Ai Valu, lock Wimpie van der Walt, and wing Lomano Lava Lemeki have all dropped into the reserves.

Regular No. 8 Amanaki Lelei Mafi was back after recovering from a shoulder injury against South Africa in the last World Cup warmup this month. Prop Jiwon Koo, lock Luke Thompson — the oldest player in this World Cup at 38 — and fullback Ryohei Yamanaka come up from the reserves.

William Tupou has switched from fullback to wing for the first time in his test career, in place of Lemeki, and Kazuki Himeno has switched from No. 8 to flanker in place of Leitch.

Openside flanker Pieter Labuschagne becomes the third foreign-born player to captain Japan in a World Cup match.

Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, William Tupou, Yu Tamura, Yutaka Nagare; Amanaki Lelei Mafi, Pieter Labuschagne (captain), Kazuki Himeno, James Moore, Luke Thompson, Jiwon Koo, Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki. Reserves: Atsushi Sakate, Isileli Nakajima, Asaeli Ai Valu, Wimpie van der Walt, Michael Leitch, Fumiaki Tanaka, Rikiya Matsuda, Lomano Lava Lemeki.


1:30 p.m.

Tonga coach Toutai Kefu has made several changes to the side to face Argentina on Saturday.

The main one is enforced and sees James Faiva replacing influential flyhalf Kurth Morath, who severely injured his throat in last weekend's 35-3 loss to England.

Telusa Veainu replaces David Halaifonua at fullback; Viliami Lolohea comes in for Atieli Pakalani on the right wing, and Paul Ngauamo is in for Sosefo Sakalia at hooker.

Halaifonua goes onto the left wing in a positional switch, only the third time he has played there — and 10 years after the first time.

Center Siale Piutau captains the side.

Tonga: Telusa Veainu, Viliami Lolohea, Malietoa Hingano, Siale Piutau (captain), David Halaifonua, James Faiva, Sonatane Takulua; Maama Vaipulu, Zane Kapeli, Sione Kalamafoni, Halaleva Fifita, Sam Lousi, Ben Tameifuna, Paul Ngauamo, Siegfried Fisi'ihoi. Reserves: Sosefo Sakalia, Vunipola Fifita, Ma'afu Fia, Sitiveni Mafi, Nasi Manu, Leon Fukofuka , Latiume Fosita, Cooper Vuna.


1:15 p.m.

Jack Carty will start at flyhalf for Ireland against Japan on Saturday in Shizuoka.

Jonathan Sexton injured a quad against Scotland last Sunday and wasn't to be risked.

Carty made his Ireland debut in February and will start for only the second time.

Ireland made four changes — all in the backline — to the starting XV that beat Scotland 27-3. The forwards are unchanged after dominating Scotland.

Wing Keith Earls and fullback Rob Kearney have recovered from injuries, and Chris Farrell is at inside center for Bundee Aki, who was also hurt against the Scots but was available.

Joey Carbery has also recovered from an ankle injury against Italy in July to make the reserves.

Ireland: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Chris Farrell, Jacob Stockdale, Jack Carty, Conor Murray; CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier, Peter O'Mahony, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (captain), Cian Healy. Reserves: Sean Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour.


12:25 p.m.

Namibia has made 10 changes to the starting XV that lost to Italy 47-22 for the Pool B match against South Africa on Saturday in Toyota.

Only captain and lock Tjiuee Uanivi, and backs Cliven Loubser, JC Greyling, Chad Plato, and Johan Tromp are retained.

Scrumhalf Eugene Jantjies will extend the Welwitschias' all-time appearances record to 68.

Namibia: Johan Tromp, Chad Plato, JC Greyling, Peter John Walters, Lesley Klim, Cliven Loubser, Eugene Jantjies; Adroiaan Booysen, Muharua Katjijeko, Thomasau Forbes, Tjiuee Uanivi (captain), Johan Retief, AJ De Klerk, Louis van der Westhuizen, Desiderius Sethie. Reserves: Obert Nortje, Andre Rademeyer, Johannes Coetzee, Prince Gaoseb, Janco Venter, Wian Conradie, Helarius Axasman Kisting, Johan Deysel.


12:15 p.m.

Argentina has made four changes to the starting lineup that lost to France 23-21 for the Pool C match against Tonga on Saturday in Osaka.

Hooker Julian Montoya, No. 8 Tomas Lezana, flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta and left wing Santiago Carreras come in.

Urdapilleta came off the bench against France, and will start his first game for the Pumas in more than six years.

Once again, out of the 23 is Juan Manuel Leguizamon, who needs one more test appearance to equal Felipe Contepomi's Pumas record of 87.

Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Matías Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Santiago Carreras, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Tomás Cubelli; Tomas Lezana, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera (captain), Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Juan Figallo, Julian Montoya, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Reserves: Agustin Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Javier Ortega Desio, Felipe Ezcurra, Nicolas Sanchez, Bautista Delguy.


10:45 a.m.

Samoa No. 8 Afaesetiti Amosa is out of the Rugby World Cup with a right knee ligament injury, piling more problems on a team which already has two players facing bans for dangerous high tackles.

Samoa assistant coach Alistair Rogers says Amosa ruptured a ligament in the process of scoring a try in the 34-9 win over Russia on Tuesday. Amosa traveled with the squad to Kobe on Wednesday, reportedly moving around in a wheelchair, and is expected to leave Japan soon.

Samoa also has concerns for hooker Motu Matu'u and scrumhalf Dwayne Polataivao, who both have symptoms of concussion. And Matu'u and center Rey Lee-Lo have been cited for dangerous tackles vs. Russia and face disciplinary hearings and possible bans.

Samoa plays Scotland next in Kobe on Monday night and has tough games after that in Pool A against host Japan and No. 2-ranked Ireland.


9:25 a.m.

The last two teams to appear in the Rugby World Cup — Canada and the United States — take the stage on the seventh day Thursday.

Canada play Italy in Fukuoka with wing DTH van der Merwe hoping to equal Jonah Lomu and score a try in a fifth straight World Cup match.

Van der Merwe scored in all four of Canada's matches in the 2015 World Cup in England, though Canada lost them all.

Canada isn't favored here either, having not beaten Italy since 2000, and lost both of their previous World Cup matchups in 2003 and 2015.

Italy started this World Cup beating Namibia 47-22.

The Americans meet England in Kobe in the second pool game on Thursday.

The United States has lost all previous five meetings with England — three at the World Cup — but the latter's coach, Eddie Jones, still warned his side to watch out for "15 Donald Trumps."

England opened against Tonga last Sunday and was medicore in a 35-3 win. England has made 10 changes to the starting lineup.


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