The Latest: England No. 8 Vunipola says therapy helps
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 12 at the Rugby World Cup (all times local):
England's players had to unload a lot of baggage and bring in a new coach to get over the bitter disappointment four years ago of becoming the first host of the Rugby World Cup to be eliminated in the group stage.
No. 8 Billy Vunipola said a bit of therapy, with psychologist Corinne Reid, and new coach Eddie Jones had helped them get over the emotional pain and focus on making it right at the 2019 edition in Japan.
"Men don't know how to talk about their feelings. It took us a while but we got there in the end," Vunipola said of the sessions with Reid. "Being brutally honest can hurt a few feelings (but) it was really good (Reid) gave us the platform to do it.".
Jones was the head coach of Japan at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and guided them to the biggest upset in the tournament's history with a victory over two-time champion South Africa. South Africa recovered to reach the semifinals.
Jones, who was head coach when Australia lost the 2003 Rugby World Cup final in extra-time to England, and was a consultant with South Africa when the Springboks beat England for the title in 2007, is now at the helm of English rugby.
"Eddie has definitely got the baggage out," Vunipola said. "It was something that was very important to us, and it has probably freed us up a lot in terms of our relationships."
England opened with a 35-3 win over Tonga and a 45-7 win over the United States, and now faces two-time semifinalists Argentina on Saturday in Pool C.
Tonga assistant coach Dan Cron has four photographs at his home in Wellington, New Zealand — mementoes of the times teams he has coached have faced teams coached by his father, New Zealand scrum coach Mike Cron.
So far it's not a fair fight. The cumulative score is 244-47 in favor of the elder Cron.
Their first meeting was during Dan Cron's time with Tonga in the opening match of Rugby World Cup in 2011 at Eden Park in Auckland. New Zealand won 41-10. Dan was with Samoa in 2017 when they played the All Blacks in a 78-0 loss. A recent All Blacks-Tonga World Cup warm-up match ended 92-7. The fourth — when Mike was with the Panasonic Wild Knights and Dan with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan — was a lot closer.
"We were 30-0 up at halftime, but then they brought on their stars and won 33-30," Dan Cron told the tournament website Tuesday. "I thought I had him that day. I will get him one day."
New Zealand beat South Africa and plays its second Pool B match against Canada in Oita on Wednesday. In Pool C, Tonga has lost to England and Argentina.
After playing the same side against Japan and Samoa in five days, has Russia made nine changes to the starting lineup facing Ireland in the Rugby World Cup on Thursday in Kobe.
The only six starters retained on Tuesday for a third straight Pool A match are prop Kirill Gotovtsev, lock Bogdan Fedotko, flanker Tagir Gadzhiev, midfielder Kirill Golosnitskiy, wing German Davydov, and fullback and captain Vasily Artemyev.
Flyhalf Yuri Kushnarev, Russia's all-time record holder for caps and points, missed out on the matchday 23.
Russia lost to Japan 30-10 and four days later lost to Samoa 34-9. Both times Russia faded in the second half.
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