The Latest: Ireland leads Russia 21-0 at halftime in Pool A
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 14 of the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
Ireland leads Russia 21-0 in a Pool A game in Kobe, rebounding five days after its upset loss to Japan.
As against Japan, Ireland made a great start with a try after 90 seconds for fullback Rob Kearney from a set move, then flanker Peter O'Mahony chased a grubber kick by Jonathan Sexton to score between the posts.
However, Kiril Golonotskiy, Russia's only try-scorer in this Rugby World Cup, slammed his left knee into a post as he tackled O'Mahony and was carried off.
The match was stop-start for injuries and turnovers, and meandered until Russia lock Bogdan Fedotko was sin-binned for a professional foul, and Ireland used the man advantage to work flanker Rhys Ruddock over off phase play five minutes from halftime.
Japan coach Jamie Joseph has made three changes to the starting lineup that shocked Ireland for Saturday’s Pool A match against Samoa.
Backrower Michael Leitch, hooker Atsushi Sakate and lock Wimpie van der Walt will start in favor of Amanaki Mafi, Shota Horie and Luke Thompson.
Shota Horie drops to the bench despite being voted player of the match in Japan’s comeback 19-12 win over an Ireland lineup that had been ranked No. 1 before the World Cup.
Japan can clinch a quarterfinal spot for the first time with another win, after beating Russia in the tournament opener and then upstaging Ireland.
Samoa opened with a win over Russia before losing 34-0 to Scotland.
Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Lomano Lemeki, Yu Tamura, Yutaka Nagare; Kazuki Himeno, Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch, James Moore, Wimpie van der Walt, Jiwon Koo, Atsushi Sakate, Keita Inagaki. Reserves: Shota Horie, Isileli Nakajima, Asaeli Ai Valu, Uwe Helu, Hendrik Tui, Fumiaki Tanaka, Rikiya Matsuda, Kenki Fukuoka.
Fiji has boosted its flagging Rugby World Cup campaign with seven tries and an attacking bonus point in a 45-10 win against Pool D rival Georgia.
A win for Georgia would have all-but secured third place and qualified it automatically for the 2023 World Cup. Instead, Fiji now is in a better position to seal that spot.
After veteran lock Mamuka Gorgodze trimmed Fiji’s lead to 17-10 with Georgia’s only try in the 52nd minute, free-flowing Fiji cut loose.
Waisea Nayacalevu scored Fiji’s only first-half try and fullback Soso Matiashvili’s penalty goal for Georgia made it 7-3 at the interval.
Fiji’s second-half tries came from scrumhalf Frank Lomani, right winger Josua Tuisova, two from left winger Semi Radradra, and one each from flanker Semi Kunatani and replacement lock Apisalome Ratuniyarawa.
Maxime Medard played fullback when France lost to Tonga at the 2011 Rugby World Cup and he’ll line up again in the No. 15 jersey when the teams meet again in Japan.
France coach Jacques Brunel recalled Medard among 11 changes to the starting XV that beat the United States on Wednesday. He planned to finalize his reserves bench on Friday, two days before the Pool C game against the Tongans.
France has opened with wins over Argentina and the United States and can secure a spot in the knockout rounds with a win over Tonga, even before it plays England.
The selection of Baptiste Serin and Romain Ntamack in the halves means that France have used three different combinations at Nos. 9 and 10 to start the tournament.
France: Maxime Medard, Damian Penaud, Virimi Vakatawa, Sofiane Guitoune, Alivereti Raka, Romain Ntamack, Baptiste Serin; Gregorie Alldritt, Charles Ollivon, Wenceslas Lauret, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Paul Gabrillagues, Rabah Slimani, Camille Chat, Jefferson Poirot (captain).
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi says Eben Etzebeth will definitely play against Italy on Friday at the Rugby World Cup and the squad hasn’t had any “distractions” amid an internal SA Rugby investigation into allegations the giant lock physically and racially abused a person in South Africa before the tournament.
SA Rugby said earlier Thursday that it had started a confidential “internal process” to look into the allegations against Etzebeth. SA rugby is publicly backing Etzebeth and has said it believes him when he denies any wrongdoing, but the organization also wants to understand what exactly happened.
The allegations surfaced in late August and relate to alleged incidents involving Etzebeth when he was on a night out while on vacation in a coastal town near Cape Town before the Springboks left for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The person who made a complaint to the human rights commission said Etzebeth physically and racially abused them.
The South African Human Rights Commission says it’s starting proceedings against Etzebeth in an equality court in South Africa on Friday, the same day South Africa plays Italy in Japan.
Fiji leads Georgia 7-3 at halftime in their rain-soaked Rugby World Cup Pool D match.
A win for Georgia would all-but assure third place in the group and a place at the 2023 World Cup, while Fiji must win to maintain its slim chances of advancing after losing its first two matches.
After Georgia fullback Soso Matiashvili missed a 15th-minute penalty goal _ initially awarded _ Fiji scored the first try four minutes later.
A moment of typical Fiji improvisation caught Georgia cold as left winger Semi Radradra did well to stop flyhalf Ben Volavola’s grubber kick going out on the left. He fed the ball quickly inside to the surging Nayacalevu, who sprinted clear and Volavola converted for 7-0.
Nayacalevu should have had a second try after a superb passing move cut Georgia open, but he fumbled midfield partner Levani Botia’s pass inside and admonished himself after tumbling face-first into the wet turf at Hanazono Rugby Stadium on the outskirts of Osaka.
Georgia then launched a brilliant attack from deep in its own half, carving Fiji open at speed with some great handling.
After left winger Alexander Todua and scrumhalf Vasil Lobzhanidze were held up, lock Konstantine Mikautadze emerged through a scrum but knocked on with the try-line in sight.
Todua had been high-tackled near the neck area, however, and Matiashvil kicked the penalty goal to make it 7-3.
Brothers Agustin and Juan Diego Ormaechea will start together for the first time at the Rugby World Cup after Uruguay made nine changes to its starting lineup for Saturday’s Pool D game against two-time champion Australia.
Veteran scrumhalf Agustin Ormaechea has been restored to the starting lineup to replace Santiago Arata and Juan Diego will start in the backrow. Uruguay opened its campaign with an upset 30-27 win over Fiji, then retained predominantly the same team in a 33-7 loss to Georgia.
Flyhalf Felipe Berchesi, hooker German Kessler, lock Manuel Leindekar and backs Andres Vilaseca, Rodrigo Silva and Nicolas Freitas will make their third starts of the tournament.
Uruguay: Rodrigo Silva, Federico Favaro, Tomas Inciarte, Andres Vilaseca (captain), Nicolas Freitas, Felipe Berchesi, Agustin Ormaechea; Manuel Diana, Juan Diego Ormaechea, Manuel Ardao, Manuel Leindekar, Franco Lamanna, Diego Arbelo, German Kessler, Juan Echeverria. Reserves: Guillermo Pujadas, Joaquin Jaunsolo, Juan Pedro Rombys, Ignacio Dotti, Juan Manuel Gaminara, Santiago Arata, Felipe Etcheverry, Agustin Della Corte.
Samoa selected two sets of brothers in its matchday squad and made six changes to its starting lineup for the Rugby World Cup game against host Japan on Saturday.
Captain and No. 8 Jack Lam is joined by brother Seilala in the XV for the first time for Samoa at a World Cup. Hooker Seilala Lam, prop Jordan Lay and lock Piula Faasalele are all into the pack after the 34-0 drubbing by Scotland in Samoa’s last game in Pool A.
Scrumhalf Dwayne Polataivao is back in the lineup after missing the Scotland game with a head knock and flyhalf Ulupano Seuteni and wing Ah See Tuala are also selected.
Wing Ed Fidow plays after a World Rugby disciplinary committee ruled his red card against Scotland _ after two yellow card offenses _ was sufficient punishment.
If James Lay comes off the bench to follow Jordan, it’ll be the second pair of Samoan brothers to take the field in the game.
Samoa faces a highly-confident Japan team in Toyota after the host nation shocked Ireland in its last game.
Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams, Ah See Tuala, Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Ed Fidow, Ulupano Seuteni, Dwayne Polataivao; Jack Lam (captain), TJ Ioane, Chris Vui, Kane Le’aupepe, Piula Faasalele, Michael Alaalatoa, Seilala Lam, Jordan Lay. Reserves: Ray Niuia, Paul Alo-Emile, James Lay, Senio Toleafoa, Josh Tyrell, Pele Cowley, Tusi Pisi, Kieron Fonotia.
England coach Eddie Jones has made just one change to the starting XV that opened the Rugby World Cup for the crucial Pool C game against Argentina.
Lock Courtney Laws is the only player who featured in England’s tournament-opening win over Tonga at Sapporo who has been dropped to the bench for Saturday’s game against the Pumas at Tokyo Stadium. He was replaced by George Kruis.
The England squad has been boosted by the return of Mako Vunipola and Jack Nowell to the bench. The pair missed England’s opening two wins over Tonga and the United States because of hamstring and ankle injuries.
Jones has picked his best available lineup, with George Ford and Owen Farrell combined in the halves and Manu Tuilagi at center, where he scored two tries against Tonga.
A win for England would ensure it advances to the quarterfinals ahead of its last group-stage game against France.
"Argentina is a completely different team from others we have played and are always about the physical contest," Jones said. "This week it's about getting our set piece in a good place and making sure defensively we are organized and ready to find ways to score points against them."
England: Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Billy Vunipola, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry, George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Joe Marler. Reserves: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, , Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell.
The South African rugby union says it has begun a confidential “internal process” with Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth over allegations he physically and racially abused a person in South Africa before the Rugby World Cup.
SA Rugby’s statement comes a day after the South African Human Rights Commission announced it would take Etzebeth to an equality court on Friday over the allegations. Etzebeth has denied any assault or racial abuse.
SA Rugby didn’t say if Etzebeth would still play against Italy in a crucial pool game at the World Cup in Japan on the same day the human rights commission says it’ll begin court proceedings against him in South Africa. The indications are that Etzebeth will play and remain at the Rugby World Cup.
The case relates to a night out in the coastal town of Langebaan in late August when Etzebeth was at a bar with friends and family members. He has been accused of assaulting and racially abusing a person, who then complained to the human rights commission.
SA Rugby says it has been in communication with the human rights commission and has “instituted an internal process to address the matter, the details of which remain an employment matter between SA Rugby and the player.”
Equality courts generally operate like civil courts in South Africa. No criminal charges have been filed against Etzebeth.
Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has made just one change to his starting lineup for the Pumas’ must-win game against England at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday.
No. 8 Javier Ortega Desio replaces Tomas Lezana in the only change to the XV that started in Argentina’s previous win over Tonga.
Desio returns after starting in Argentina’s opening 23-21 loss to France, a result which put the Pumas in jeopardy of missing the knockout stages from Pool C.
Hooker Julian Montoya and flyhalf Urdapilleta retain their places after replacing veterans Agustin Creevy and Nicolas Sanchez for the win over Tonga. Creevy remains on the bench, and Sanchez has dropped out of the match-day 23.
If ex-captain Creevy comes onto the field on Saturday, he will earn his 88th test cap to take the Argentina record in his own right.
Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Matías Moroni, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Santiago Carreras, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Tomás Cubelli; Javier Ortega Desio, 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, Tomas Lezana, Felipe Ezcurra, Lucas Mensa, Bautista Delguy.
Day 14 of the Rugby World Cup features two games with Ireland taking on Russia and Fiji against Georgia.
Fiji needs to beat Georgia in Osaka on Thursday to have any chance of progressing to the knockout rounds from Pool D following its upset loss to Uruguay and an opening loss to Australia.
Ireland is coming off a shocking loss to host Japan and needs to get back on track against Russia at Kobe in Pool A. The Irish started the tournament with the No. 1 ranking but have slipped following a 1-1 start to the World Cup.
South Africa and Italy meet in Shizuoka on Friday ahead of a weekend featuring five games.