The Latest: France leads Wales 19-10 at halftime in QFs

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

5:05 p.m.

France took a 12-0 lead after eight minutes and added a superb third try through Virimi Vakatawa to be 19-10 in front at halftime against Wales in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.

Lock Sebastien Vahaamahina burrowed over for a try in the fifth minute before flanker Charles Ollivon finished off an 80-meter move to give France a flying start in Oita.

Wales pulled it back to 12-10 through a breakaway try from flanker Aaron Wainwright and a penalty goal by Dan Biggar, but then had replacement Ross Moriarty sin-binned for a high tackle.

With the Welsh down to 14 men, France took advantage of some open space as Vakatawa sidestepped in from an offload by winger Damian Penaud and dived over for a try in the 31st.

Wales lost center Jonathan Davies to a knee injury on the morning of the match, and has seen No. 8 Josh Navidi go off injured.

The Welsh started out as favorites after beating France in seven of their last eight meetings.


4:10 p.m.

Quade Cooper isn't sad to see the back of Michael Cheika, who has decided not to re-apply for the post as Australia coach after the team's World Cup exit.

"If he actually cared about Aus rugby he would have done it a while ago," Cooper wrote on Twitter.

The 31-year-old flyhalf hasn't played for the Wallabies since 2017. He was included in the preliminary squad six months out from the World Cup in Japan, but didn't make the final 31-man party.


3:40 p.m.

Michael Cheika's tenure as Australia rugby coach is over.

The Wallabies say Cheika has confirmed he will not seek to be reappointed in the post, with his contract having finished following the team's quarterfinal loss to England at the Rugby World Cup.

Cheika was in charge for five years, leading Australia to the World Cup final in 2015.

He said in August he was staking his coaching career on the Wallabies winning the World Cup in Japan. They lost 40-16 to England in Oita on Saturday.


3:20 p.m.

Wales has been dealt a big blow ahead of its match against France in the quarterfinals, with center Jonathan Davies ruled out because of a knee injury.

Owen Watkin was promoted from the bench to the starting lineup, with Leigh Halfpenny taking his place among the replacements.

Davies, a British and Irish Lion and one of Wales' most experienced players, hurt his knee in the 29-17 win over Fiji in the pool stage on Oct. 9. He was declared fit enough to start against France, only to aggravate the injury in the captain's run on Saturday.

News of the lineup change came about an hour before kickoff.


3:10 p.m.

New Zealand is set to be without flanker Matt Todd for the Rugby World Cup semifinal match against England on Saturday.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says Todd "got a bang" on his shoulder in the 46-14 win over Ireland in the quarterfinals on Saturday and that it's "unlikely he'll be available" against England.

Todd is mainly used as a replacement for New Zealand. He came on the 57th minute against Ireland and was sin-binned late in the game.


11:45 a.m.

The semifinal lineup at the Rugby World Cup will be completed on Sunday, with Wales playing France in Oita before host nation Japan takes on two-time champion South Africa in Tokyo.

England and New Zealand advanced with big wins on Saturday and will meet in the first semifinal. It's tough to predict who will be in the second.

Japan's historic qualification to the quarterfinals has been the story of the tournament so far — it's the first time any Asian country has got to the knockout stage — and the team has beaten South Africa at the World Cup before, of course.

In the "Miracle of Brighton" at the 2015 competition, the Springboks were famously defeated by Japan in one of the greatest shocks in any sport.

Wales starts as favorite against France in the all-European quarterfinal, having won seven of their last eight meetings.


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?