The Latest: Aussie coach Cheika 'embarrassed' by refereeing

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 10 at the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

First of all Michael Cheika was confused by the interpretations of the so-called high tackle framework that has generated plenty of debate and several suspensions at the Rugby World Cup. Now he's just embarrassed.

After two-time champion Australia's 29-25 loss to Six Nations winner Wales, the Wallabies coach said he thinks the match officials are just too worried about the rules.

"As a rugby player, a former player, I am embarrassed here," he told a post-game news conference on Sunday.

While defenders making shoulder-led tackles have been in the sights of referees and the citing commissioners during the tournament, it was a penalty against an attacking player on Sunday that baffled Cheika.

Australia center Samu Kerevi was penalized after the television match official, following several minutes to assess slow-motion replays, ruled that the left arm he used as a fend as he braced to be tackled had made contact with Welsh flyhalf Rhys Patchell's throat. Kerevi's arm made contact with Patchell's chest, then slipped up as the Welsh player attempted a ball-and-all tackle at chest height.

Cheika said it felt like the rules around tackle technique were causing confusion for players and officials.

"I don't understand any more. They (referees) all seem spooked," Cheika said. "Everybody seems worried, they are all worried about stuff so much. I am not sure why they are worried, the players aren't worried. Then it's affecting everything else on the field."


7:45 p.m.

Piers Francis is free to play in England's next Rugby World Cup game despite admitting he committed an act of foul play in a high tackle on U.S. fullback Will Hooley early in a group game on Thursday.

After a hearing on Sunday, the disciplinary committee said the England center accepted that he made contact with the head of the opposition ball carrier, and also accepted that a high degree of danger was present.

"The player admitted that he had committed an act of foul play but denied that it reached the red card threshold," the committee said in a statement, adding that it reviewed video and took evidence from Francis and his lawyer before deciding that the tackle should have resulted in a yellow card.

"Since the threshold for upholding a citing is red card, the committee did not uphold the citing and the player is free to play again immediately."

England's next game in Pool C is against Argentina in Tokyo next Saturday.

Dangerous tackles have been getting prominent attention at the tournament.

U.S. flanker John Quill was suspended for the remainder of the pool stage after admitting to a reckless, dangerous tackle in his team's opening loss to England.

Quill hit England back Owen Farrell with a shoulder charge into his head in the 70th minute, and became the first player to be red-carded at this Rugby World Cup.

Australia winger Reece Hodge and Samoans Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu'u were each banned for three games after being found guilty of making dangerous tackles in earlier games.

Hodge wasn't punished by game officials for his tackle during Australia's opening win over Fiji but was later cited. Matu'u and center Lee-Lo were both yellow-carded for their shoulder-led hits to the head of Russia captain Vasily Artemyev within two minutes of each other in Samoa's opening win.


6:50 p.m.

Wales beat Australia in the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 28 years and earned the inside track for winning their pool in a pulsating 29-25 victory.

Wales lost five straight World Cup matches to the Wallabies, including a quarterfinal and two pool deciders, and finally ended the streak with a clinical performance.

Wales led 26-8 soon after halftime and its fans broke into "How Great Thou Art," but nobody else at Tokyo Stadium believed the outcome was set, not when these contests in the past decade have been decided in the dying moments.

Add another thriller to their rivalry.

Australia hit back with converted tries and a penalty to cut Wales' lead from 18 points to one with 12 minutes to go. A penalty to star replacement flyhalf Rhys Patchell in the 72nd added to the lead, but the Wallabies were far from done.

Several floodlights blew out to add to the drama. In the faded light the Wallabies bent the Welsh defense but couldn't break it, and a knock-on finally ended their sterling comeback with seconds left.

It is too early to know whether this match determines who wins Pool D, but both teams are expected to advance to the quarterfinals at the expense of Georgia, Fiji and Uruguay.


6:35 p.m.

France prop Demba Bamba has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup with a right thigh injury.

The 21-year-old Bamba played in France's 23-21 opening win over Argentina. He will be replaced by Cedate Gomes Sa, who has six test caps.

Three-time runner-up France faces the U.S. team in Fukuoka on Wednesday.


5:45 p.m.

Wales leads Australia 23-8 at halftime in their Pool D match at Tokyo Stadium.

Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar landed a dropped goal in the first minute, and his crosskick was caught by Hadleigh Parkes over Marika Koroibete for the opening try.

But Koroibete featured with several strong runs, including in the leadup to a try by Adam Ashley-Cooper from a Bernard Foley crosskick, and he was denied a try by Biggar. But Biggar failed head injury assessments and was replaced by Rhys Patchell, who had an equally big impact.

Patchell kicked two penalties for 16-8 and converted a try in the last moments of the half by scrumhalf Gareth Davies, who intercepted opposite Will Genia and scooted 60 meters to the tryline.


4:15 p.m.

Jaba Bregvadze gave Georgian and Japanese fans something to cheer about when he scored a try and set up another with a chip kick to lead his lineup to a 33-7 victory over Uruguay in a Rugby World Cup Pool D game.

Uruguay was coming off an upset win over Fiji on Wednesday and didn't have the energy to match the physical Georgian lineup, which was overhauled after an opening loss to Wales.

The 32-year-old Bregvadze, who plays for the Japan-based Sunwolves in Super Rugby and was leading his national team for the first time, secured a bonus point with Georgia's fourth try when he dived across from a rolling maul in the 52nd minute.

The Georgians had nothing going on in attack six minutes later when the veteran hooker, standing one out from a ruck, decided to chip ahead and then pinned Uruguayan Rodrigo Silva on the tryline, allowing center Giorgi Kveseladze the easiest of tries.

Tedo Abzhandadze converted to make it 33-7 before the hour mark, the Georgians having added three tries after leading 12-7 at the halftime break.

The Georgians will have to regroup quickly for a crucial game against Fiji on Thursday, while Uruguay gets an extra two days off before taking on two-time champion Australia.

The Uruguayans finished with man down after replacement prop Facundo Gattas was red carded for high tackle in the 78th minute.


3:25 p.m.

Rugby World Cup authorities are monitoring Typhoon Mitag, which is developing off Japan's south west coast and could potentially affect Wednesday's match between France and the United States.

Japan's meteorological agency says it could bring high winds and heavy rains to the island of Kyushu.

The agency added that the typhoon appears to moving further away from the coastline than initially anticipated.

Both teams have been informed of contingency plans if the match is called off. A further update is expected Monday.


3:15 p.m.

Center Guiseppe du Toit and fullback Theo Sauder have arrived in Japan to replace injured Canada centers Ben LeSage and Nick Blevins.

Le Sage and Blevins sustained tournament-ending injuries against Italy last Thursday in Fukuoka; LeSage needs surgery on a hand and Blevins broke his jaw.

Du Toit has one cap off the bench in more than a year, and Sauder has one cap this year and was involved in the World Cup qualifying repechage last November in France.

"You never want to see your friends get hurt," Sauder said, "but we're here and ready to help when we can."


3:05 p.m.

Georgia has taken a 12-7 lead into halftime in the Rugby World Cup Pool D game against Uruguay.

The Georgians scored tries through left winger Alexander Todua and No. 8 Otari Giorgadze in the first half-hour and appeared to be on the verge of taking control of the game before Uruguay rallied with a try against the run of play in the 33rd minute.

Todua scored out wide in the 9th and, after a short water break in the 20th minute because of the humidity at Kumagaya, the Georgians finally converted their scrum dominance into points in the 30th after declining to take several shots at goal from easy kicking range.

Giorgadze picked up from the base of a five-yard scrum just before it wheeled too far and crashed over the top of the scrumhalf to score near the posts. It was converted to make it 12-0.

Uruguay took advantage of some poor lineout defense from the Georgians for center Andres Vilaseca to cross untouched.

Uruguay is coming off an upset win over Fiji on Wednesday. Georgia lost its opening game to Six Nations champion Wales.


2:45 p.m.

Samoa coach Steve Jackson has taken note of Scotland's comments on the referee for their Rugby World Cup game and says it "just motivates our players a lot more."

Samoa had two players yellow-carded for high, dangerous tackles in its opening win over Russia. Hooker Motu Matu'u and center Rey Lee-Lo were cited after the game and each banned for three games.

Scotland scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw said he thought both Matu'u and Lee-Lo should have been sent off for their "pretty brutal" tackles on Russia captain Vasily Artemyev. Laidlaw added that he hoped the referee for the Samoa-Scotland Pool A game on Monday, Frenchman Pascal Gauzere, wouldn't be afraid to hand out red cards if Samoa made high tackles again.

Jackson responded on the eve of the game in Kobe by saying: "We know that there's been things put to the media by people in the Scottish squad around talking to the referees about tackles and all that sort of stuff. Thanks for doing that, because that just motivates our players a lot more."


2 p.m.

Head coach Gary Gold has made five changes to his U.S. starting lineup for Wednesday's Rugby World Cup match against three-time runner-up France.

The Americans lost their opening game 45-7 to 2003 champion England and have another significant challenge against a French lineup coming off a tight win over Argentina.

Prop Eric Fry and lock Nate Brakeley weren't in the 23-man squad against England but both start at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium.

Fry replaces the injured teenage prop David Ainuu, who has been ruled out of the tournament, and Brakeley is in for Ben Landry.

Flanker John Quill, who is suspended for the remaining Pool C matches following his red card against England, has been replaced by Hanco Germishuys.

The other two changes are enforced by injuries, with Bryce Campbell replacing Paul Lasike at inside center and Mike Teo taking Will Hooley's place at fullback.

Lineup: Mike Teo, Blaine Scully (captain), Marcel Brache, Bryce Campbell, Martin Iosefo, AJ MacGinty, Shaun Davies; Cam Dolan, Hanco Germishuys, Tony Lamborn, Nick Civetta, Nate Brakeley, Titi Lamositele, Joe Taufetee, Eric Fry. Reserves: Dylan Fawsitt, Olive Kilifi, Paul Mullen, Greg Peterson, Ben Pinkelman, Ruben de Haas, Will Magie, Thretton Palamo.


1:30 p.m.

Japan's shocking win over Ireland at the Rugby World Cup certainly grabbed the host nation's attention.

World Rugby said although broadcast audiences usually aren't published for 10 days, indications were that Saturday's game in Shizuoka attracted a peak domestic audience share of 22.4% in prime time.

More than 120,000 people watched the broadcast at special fanzone live sites across Japan, and total video views on Rugby World Cup's Japanese Twitter account exceeded 8.2 million.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said the first Rugby World Cup in Asia was making a big impact on and off the field.

"Japan's victory has excited a nation and captured the imagination of the world," Beaumont said. "This tournament is big in Japan."

Jamie Joseph's Japanese squad rallied from 12-3 down to win 19-12 over an Ireland squad that was ranked No. 1 coming into the tournament. It was the second major upset in as many World Cups for Japan, which beat two-time champion South Africa in England four years ago.

Japan now tops Pool A with two wins from two games, and expectations are rising that Japan will qualify for the quarterfinals for the first time.


11:10 a.m.

Ireland has ruled out No. 8 Jack Conan for the remainder of the Rugby World Cup because of a broken left foot.

Conan was a replacement against Scotland last weekend in his first World Cup match, and was down to start against Japan on Saturday. But in training this week, a teammate stood on his foot and broke it.

Conan, the backup No. 8 since Jamie Heaslip retired in 2017, was wearing a moon boot on his leg as he watched Ireland's 19-12 loss to Japan in Shizuoka. Coach Joe Schmidt said Conan will be returning home on Sunday. Ireland is yet to name a replacement.

Also, fullback Rob Kearney failed a head injury assessment, and could be in doubt for the Pool A game against Russia on Thursday in Kobe.


11 a.m.

Japan's extraordinary upset win over Ireland has the host country buzzing in the first Rugby World Cup to be staged in Asia.

Jamie Joseph's Japanese squad rallied from 12-3 down to win 19-12 over an Ireland squad that was ranked No. 1 coming into the tournament.

That's two wins from two starts, and expectations are rising that Japan will qualify for the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals for the first time. That has been Joseph's target since taking over the team.

All the action on Day 10 will be in Pool D, where two-time champion Australia and Six Nations winner Wales will be vying for a win that will likely secure top spot in the group. After an upset win over Fiji, Uruguay is aiming to win back-to-back games at the Rugby World Cup for the first time ever when it faces Georgia at Kumagaya on Sunday.


More AP Rugby World Cup: and

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?