The Latest: RWC: Scotland needs win over Russia
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 20 at the Rugby World Cup (all times local):
Scotland needs a win against Russia to realistically stay in contention for the quarterfinals.
Scotland's penultimate game in Pool A and Russia's last game at this Rugby World Cup is underway in Shizuoka.
A win with a bonus point is what the Scots are expecting. That would put them in touching distance of pool leader and host Japan and second-place Ireland, and still in with a chance of making the last eight.
The pool ends over the weekend when Ireland plays Samoa and Scotland plays Japan. Ireland, Scotland and the host team are all fighting for two quarterfinals places. A dramatic finish to the group could be upended, though, if Typhoon Hagibis arrives in Japan over the weekend and affects the schedule.
Russia hasn't won a Rugby World Cup game in seven previous attempts but this is a chance for the Bears to give captain Vasily Artemyev a big farewell. The 32-year-old fullback has started every Russia World Cup game and is likely playing his last at the showpiece tournament in Shizuoka.
Argentina reaffirmed its supremacy in the Americas when it completed its campaign by beating the United States 47-17 in Kumagaya.
The first team to finish its pool matches, the Pumas fell short of a fourth consecutive quarterfinal berth but will head home with a consolation automatic qualification for the 2023 tournament in France by finishing third in Pool A in Japan. They hadn't met the United States in 16 years, when the Pumas won 42-8 in Buenos Aires, and eclipsed that record scoring seven tries to three. Both packs cancelled each other out in Kumagaya, but the Pumas backs were too slick, especially centers Jeronimo de la Fuente and Juan Cruz Mallia.
On a perfect stage — sunny, warm conditions in a stadium filled out with cheering, flag-waving kids from local schools — both teams seemed to agree the day was too good to waste and decided to entertain. There were few set-pieces and turnovers were simply resets to run the ball at each other over and over. It made for helter-skelter fun.
Argentina was set for a consolation third place and automatic qualifying spot for the 2023 tournament from Pool A after finishing the first half against the United States with a 19-5 lead Wednesday.
In perfect, sunny conditions in Kumagaya, both teams were playing positively before an appreciative crowd.
Argentina waved off kickable penalties to go for tries, and the first attempt was disallowed for a knock-on against the post.
But center Juan Cruz Mallia broke down the middle to set up flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez in the right corner, then a Sanchez chip bounced kindly for fullback Joaquin Tuculet to make it 14-0.
Tuculet scored the third out wide for 19-0 after the forwards were stopped on the line, and the Americans got on the board just before halftime when an AJ MacGinty grubber kick was scooped by right wing and captain Blaine Scully to score.
England defense coach John Mitchell says No. 8 Billy Vunipola won't be risked in the Pool C decider against France if his injured ankle hasn't healed sufficiently.
Vunipola twisted his left ankle in the win over Argentina and Mitchell says England will "make sure that if there is any risk then we won't risk him." Mitchell says Vunipola will "definitely" be fit next week ahead of the quarterfinals.
England and France have both qualified for the quarterfinals. Saturday's game in Yokohama decides who wins the pool.
Coach Eddie Jones has been questioned over how much he's played Vunipola recently. Vunipola has started all England's games at the Rugby World Cup, although he came off at halftime against the Pumas having received treatment on his ankle on the field.
England also has injury concerns over prop Joe Marler and back Jack Nowell — just "niggles" according to Mitchell — while captain Owen Farrell and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie have been ill.
The England-France game could be one of a number affected if Super Typhoon Hagibis hits Japan, as feared, this weekend.
Mitchell says England hasn't given much thought to the typhoon: "We don't let that noise enter our preparation."
Mathieu Raynal of France is ill and has withdrawn from refereeing the Pool A match between Scotland and Russia in Shizuoka. He has been replaced by Wayne Barnes of England.
Barnes' place as assistant referee will be filled by Alex Ruiz of France.
The other assistant is still Federico Anselmi of Argentina, and the Television Match Officia remains Marius Jonker of South Africa.
Three matches are scheduled Wednesday at the Rugby World Cup on the 20th day of the tournament that is moving towards the end of pool play. Organizers, however, are concerned about a typhoon that could affect matches on the weekend.
Typhoon Hagibis could hit Japan on Saturday, when three matches are scheduled. Four more are set for Sunday, the final day of the preliminary round.
"We are currently monitoring the development of a typhoon off the south coast of Japan in partnership with our weather information experts," World Rugby said in a statement. "It is still too early to determine what, if any, impact there will be on match or training activities."
On Saturday, New Zealand plays Italy, England takes on France and Ireland plays Samoa at Fukuoka, which is situated on the north shore of Kyushu Island and appears to be the match most threatened by the typhoon.
Clear and sunny skies are expected at all three venues on Wednesday, when Argentina plays the United States at Kumagaya near Tokyo, Scotland takes on Russia at Shizuoka and Wales plays Fiji at Oita.