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View Poll Results: Which side will win the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

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19. You may not vote on this poll
  • England

    3 15.79%
  • Australia

    0 0%
  • New Zealand

    10 52.63%
  • Ireland

    0 0%
  • Wales

    1 5.26%
  • France

    0 0%
  • Japan

    1 5.26%
  • South Africa

    4 21.05%
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  1. #81
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    Flanker Justin Tipuric will captain Wales as head coach Warren Gatland makes 13 changes for their final World Cup pool match against Uruguay.

    Centre Hadleigh Parkes and wing Josh Adams are the only players remaining from Wednesday's win over Fiji.

    Lock Adam Beard makes his first World Cup appearance after recovering from appendix surgery.

    Wales have already achieved quarter-final qualification and need two points to finish top of Pool D.

    Wales were always planning to make changes for this fixture, given the tight turnaround from Wednesday's bonus-point victory against Fiji.

    The need to rotate the squad was compounded by the number of injuries picked up during that match, with fly-half Dan Biggar and centre Jonathan Davies forced off the field in Oita.

    Gatland said George North carried an ankle knock into the Fiji game and the need to rest him contributed to Adams again starting despite the latter suffering a dead leg in that match.

    Adams switches from the left to right wing with Hallam Amos making his first tournament appearance at 11.

    Lock Bradley Davies, hooker Ryan Elias and scrum-half Aled Davies also earn their first taste of action in Japan.

    Injuries and rotation mean Wales have chosen scrum-halves Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams as their only backs on the bench, alongside six forwards.

    That means there will be no specialist fly-half cover for Rhys Patchell, who starts at 10 in Biggar's absence.

    Gatland has suggested the cover will come from Parkes, who has limited experience of playing professional rugby at fly-half, or Amos, who has never played at 10 in his senior career.

    The replacement scrum-halves might also be asked to cover the fly-half position.

    The Wales coach says having four days between the Fiji and Uruguay games has enforced "a bit of a juggling act" and selection discussions included asking flanker James Davies to play in the backs.

    "We knew that right from the start we were going to expose a few players," said Gatland.

    "I spoke before the World Cup [to say] we would probably go into this game with only one 10 anyway so we are looking for cover there as well.

    "It's been hard with the short turnaround, but we have a forward pack that are all fresh and pretty excited and they are looking forward to the opportunity.

    "The message to the players for the game against Uruguay is the door is not shut. There are opportunities for players to go out there and impress and stake a claim for the quarter-finals."

    Flankers as backs?
    Gatland added: "We spoke about whether we could have put James Davies in the backs. He has a lot of sevens experience and Justin (Tipuric) is also pretty comfortable playing in the wider channels as well.

    "We are confident we have cover with players and being able to move around if we need to do that.

    "We have had two players back up in Hadleigh Parkes and Josh Adams.

    "Ideally we would have liked to have given Josh a rest, but that has not been the case and that's why we have ended up going for a 6-2 split with two nines covering the backs.

    "Gareth (Davies) went onto the wing at the end of the Fiji game and did a good job for us. We have two quality nines who can cover different positions."

    Wales: Halfpenny; Adams, Watkin, Parkes, Amos; Patchell, A Davies; Smith, Elias, Lewis, B Davies, Beard, Shingler, Tipuric (capt), Wainwright.

    Replacements: Dee, Carre, W Jones, Ball, Moriarty, James Davies, T Williams, G Davies.


    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/49997939


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  2. #82
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    Italy head coach Conor O'Shea says his side's Rugby World Cup exit is "devastating" despite needing a "miracle match" to beat New Zealand.

    The Azzurri had to beat the All Blacks in their final Pool B match to reach the quarter-finals, but the game was cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis.

    "We still had a chance and god knows what happens in sport," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

    "It was emotional when we heard the news after training this morning."

    Italy hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini broke down in tears after learning he would not be playing in what would have been a farewell match for his country.

    O'Shea added: "After all the sacrifices these guys have made for their country, to not be allowed to finish on the pitch is hard to take.

    "Fourteen years giving everything [Ghiraldini], sometimes in a difficult cause when you don't win all the games you want to.

    "He's spent six months rehabbing after injuring himself in the last game of the Six Nations, and spent months and time away from his family doing that rehab.

    "He just missed out playing against Canada so I didn't pick him against South Africa, but he was good to go.

    "You don't write your own script and everyone's quite emotional today."

    However, the Irishman - who stepped down at Harlequins to take over as Italy coach in 2016 - said he understands "safety is paramount" with "one heck of a storm coming".

    "The Japanese authorities did not want people moving across the country given the severity of this storm," he added.

    "Could we have played a different day, could we have waited another couple of days?

    "But you also have to trust that these people who have organised the event have exhausted every opportunity."

    Italy won both their opening games before losing to South Africa in their third game of the tournament.

    And while victory over the defending champions would have sealed a first quarter-final appearance, the Azzurri have secured their highest points tally (12) at a World Cup after picking up two points from the 0-0 draw.



    "It might have been the remotest of chances, but we were in a game that meant something," said O'Shea.

    "The All Blacks conceded 46 points against Australia two months ago when they lost a player to a red card. You don't know what is going to happen on a rugby pitch.

    "But the right decision was made, it was the decision we all knew was going to be made if this happened."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50000957


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  3. #83
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    HT: Australia 10-3 Georgia


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  4. #84
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    Rugby World Cup Pool A: Japan v Scotland
    Venue: International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama Date: Sun, 13 October Kick-off: 11:45 BST

    Scottish Rugby believes it has a legal case against the game's governing body as it seeks to ensure their decisive World Cup match with Japan goes ahead.

    World Rugby will make a decision on Sunday morning about whether the match in Yokohama can go ahead as the host nation prepares for Typhoon Hagibis.

    It has already cancelled two Saturday games and declared them a draw, but a repeat could mean Scotland's exit.

    But SRU chief executive Mark Dodson says "legal opinion unravels" its case.

    Gregor Townsend's side lie third behind Ireland and Japan in Pool A and must beat the hosts - and take four more points than them - to progress to the quarter-final stage unless the Irish lose to Samoa.

    World Rugby rules state that "where a pool match cannot be commenced on the day in which it is scheduled, it shall not be postponed to the following day and shall be considered as cancelled. In such situations, the result shall be allocated two points each and no score registered".

    "For World Rugby to simply state that the game has to be cancelled goes against the whole sporting integrity of the tournament," Dodson told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

    "World Rugby have pointed us back to the participation agreement and that it is clearly stated there. We've had a legal opinion and then we've taken a leading sports QC opinion in London that challenges that and unravels the World Rugby case."

    World Rugby hopes the worst of the typhoon will have passed by Sunday and that the game will go ahead, but Dodson is angered by its refusal to consider moving the game to another time or venue.

    "We've been preparing for this tournament now for the last four years, our guys are over 100 days in camp, we've played three games already and the fourth game in this particular case is pivotal," he added.

    "My view is that we're not going to let Scotland be the collateral damage for a decision that was taken in haste."

    Dodson argued that rugby supporters around the world "are absolutely astounded at this rigidity from World Rugby" and thinks the match should be played on Monday if it cannot go ahead on Sunday.

    "The common sense approach to this is to play the game 24 hours later on perfect safety where we can make sure that the pool stages are completed, and the sporting integrity of the tournament remains intact," he added.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50011693


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  5. #85
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    2019 Rugby World Cup Pool D
    Australia: (10) 27
    Tries: White, Koroibete, Dempsey, Genia; Pen: Toomua; Cons: Toomua 2
    Georgia: (3) 8
    Try: Todua; Pen: Matiashvili
    England's likely World Cup last eight opponents Australia laboured to victory over Georgia in swirling wind and rain.

    With Typhoon Hagibis approaching Japan, the Wallabies took 22 minutes to open the scoring through Nic White's try.

    Michael Cheika's side held a slender 10-3 half-time advantage and saw Isi Naisarani sin-binned for a high tackle.

    A solo score from Marika Koroibete gave Australia a buffer but Alexander Todua crossed for Georgia before Jack Dempsey and Will Genia tries sealed the win.

    The bonus-point victory takes the already-qualified Wallabies top of Pool D, although they will be overtaken by Wales if Warren Gatland's side avoid defeat by Uruguay on Sunday.

    That would confirm a quarter-final meeting on 19 October with England, who will finish top of Pool C after their final group game against France was called off because of the extreme weather forecasted on Saturday.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50013442


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  6. #86
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    Tokyo - An angry war of words between Japan and Scotland has injected an element of needle into Sunday's typhoon-threatened Rugby World Cup clash in Yokohama.

    Furious at threats of a formal Scottish protest if the crunch Pool A clash is cancelled, Japan coach Jamie Joseph felt the hosts had been disrespected, fuming that talk of legal action "undermined the achievements" of his side.

    His opposite number, Gregor Townsend, hit back by saying he "had a good laugh" at the former All Black's comments, which were made with the help of prepared notes before he named his Japan side.

    "I'd like to remind everybody it hasn't been a fluke," growled Joseph, referring to Japan's perfect record after three pool fixtures.

    "Everyone in our squad wants to play the Test match," he added, before the biggest game in Japanese rugby history.

    "It's important for us to wake up on Monday morning and understand we are a worthy top-eight team."

    But Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson insisted Scotland would not become "collateral damage" from a violent typhoon that wiped out England v Italy and New Zealand v Italy on Saturday for safety reasons.

    Dodson called on World Cup organisers to take a "common-sense approach" by moving Sunday's game to Monday if necessary, rather than sticking to the protocol of calling it off and declaring the result a 0-0 draw.

    Townsend, meanwhile, accused Joseph of trying to "put messages out" as the build-up to a match that Joseph predicted would be a "real ripper" turned into ***-for-tat verbal sparring.

    Given the bad blood, and how much is at stake, it would be little surprise to see tempers boil over if the match goes ahead.

    Japan are looking to avenge a 45-10 defeat by Scotland at the 2015 World Cup that cost them a quarter-final spot, despite three wins including a 34-32 shock over South Africa.

    After beating Russia 30-10, stunning Ireland 19-12 and thrashing Samoa 38-19, the Brave Blossoms are on the brink of history once again and Joseph expects a bruising encounter.

    "We know we're playing a very good rugby team, Scotland have got a lot of X-factor," he said.

    "It's a team Japan has never beaten before but we're top of the table with an opportunity to win the pool," added Joseph, who has handed back the game captaincy to talismanic flanker Michael Leitch.

    "We expect a lot of aerial pressure and big physical pressure around the maul, but we have to stick with what we do well."

    Leitch has demanded Japan's players step up.

    "Having courage is the most important thing," he said. "Not chickening out when faced with pressure. We have to face up to it."

    Scotland have bounced back from a 27-3 drubbing by Ireland in their opening game to smash Samoa 34-0 and Russia 61-0.

    But a Japanese side that left Ireland seeing stars brings a different set of challenges.

    "We know it wouldn't be an embarrassment to lose to Japan," said Townsend, striking a more conciliatory tone.

    "We know they are an excellent side and we will have to play very well to win."

    Teams:

    Japan

    15 William Tupou, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Michael Leitch (captain), 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.

    Substitutes: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Isileli Nakajima, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Hendrik Tui, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Ryohei Yamanaka.

    Scotland

    15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Darcy Graham, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Allan Dell.

    Substitutes: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 George Horne, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Blair Kinghorn

    https://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Rugb...scots-20191012


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  7. #87
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    Tokyo - Rugby World Cup organisers warned Namibia and Canada about the "potential of cancellation" of their final pool game as Typhoon Hagibis slammed into Japan on Saturday.

    The governing body has already been forced to cancel two games - England v France and New Zealand v Italy - over the powerful typhoon, which has left one person dead and at least three missing.

    "We have advised the Namibia and Canada teams of the current situation and potential of cancellation, and our message to fans not currently in Kamaishi is not to travel before confirmation of the match status following a full assessment of the venue and associated infrastructure early on Sunday morning," a World Rugby statement said.


    It added that a decision on Sunday's match in Kamaishi, a victim of Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, would be made after an inspection at 06:00 (23:00 SA time on Saturday).

    Cancellation would be a blow for Kamaishi, whose hosting of World Cup games was a potent symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster when it was nearly wiped off the map.

    It would also rob Namibia of a chance to grab their first World Cup win and end their record run of 22 games at the tournament without a victory. Canada are without a win in their last 10 World Cup matches.

    https://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Rugb...rages-20191012


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  8. #88
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    2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A: Ireland v Samoa
    Ireland (26) 47
    Tries: Best, Furlong, Sexton 2, Larmour, Stander, Conway Cons: Sexton 4, Carbery 2
    Samoa (5) 5
    Try: J Lam
    Ireland booked their place in the World Cup quarter-finals with a seven-try win over Samoa in Fukuoka.

    Joe Schmidt's side were forced to play over half the game with 14 men after Bundee Aki's 29th-minute dismissal, by which stage tries from Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong and Johnny Sexton had put them in control.

    Jack Lam replied for Samoa but Sexton crossed again to secure the bonus-point before half-time.

    Jordan Larmour, CJ Stander and Andrew Conway put their names on the scoresheet as Ireland navigated the second half unscathed.

    Ireland's opponents in the last eight will be determined by the outcome of the final Pool A fixture between Japan and Scotland on Sunday, which could still be cancelled with Typhoon Hagibis wreaking havoc in Yokohama.

    If the game does not go ahead, both sides would be awarded two points meaning Japan finish top of Pool A with second-placed Ireland tasked with meeting two-time reigning world champions New Zealand in Tokyo next Saturday.

    If the Sunday's game goes ahead, a Scotland win without Japan claiming two losing bonus-points would see Ireland finish top, therefore facing South Africa in the last eight.

    Aki red not critical for Ireland

    Knowing a five-point win would assure their progress regardless of events in Yokohama, Ireland began purposefully, with the decision to kick for the corner as opposed to taking an easy three points paying off twice in the first nine minutes.

    Captain Best drove over from a rolling maul before the destructive Furlong broke through four would-be tacklers to cross from close distance as Ireland made the most of Samoan indiscipline.

    Sexton's first try, after a slick break and offload from Larmour, put Ireland on the cusp of the bonus-point with just a quarter of the game gone.

    However, two incidents in the space of five moments threatened to completely alter the direction of the contest.

    After Lam barrelled over the top of Ireland's defence to put Samoa on the board, Aki was dismissed for a tackle direct to the head of fly-half Ulupano Seuteni.

    Samoa's momentum was short-lived as they failed to translate their numerical superiority into any sort of meaningful advantage.

    Sexton's show and go off the back of a scrum just before the interval saw Ireland enter the break with the job done, ensuring there was little in the way of tension when the players re-emerged from the tunnel.

    Larmour puts hand up for selection

    In a satisfactory evening for Ireland, several loose passes and handling errors that contributed to some of their hairiest moments in the first half will come under the microscope with the All Blacks or the Springboks looming on the horizon.

    Attention will now turn to team selection for Ireland's biggest game since the last eight in 2015.

    While in truth there is a clear first-choice player in most positions, Leinster full-back Larmour put in a performance that may just persuade Schmidt to stick with the 22-year-old next week.

    An accusation that has been made against this Ireland team in recent times is that they are one-dimensional in attack.

    Against Samoa, Larmour was a constant and unpredictable threat with ball in hand as he sought to jink through the opposition defence at every opportunity.

    His probing paid off for Sexton's opening try and he was rewarded with a score of his own nine minutes after the break, latching onto Conor Murray's perfect flat pass.

    In Rob Kearney, Schmidt has a player who has delivered in most of Ireland's biggest games over the past decade, however Larmour's impressive outings against Scotland and Samoa will certainly have given the head coach food for thought.

    Johnny Sexton celebrates with Ireland replacement Andrew Porter

    Concerns over the condition of the pitch at the Hakatanomori Stadium rose to the surface during Friday's captain's run, during which Irish players were able to lift up the turf enough to fit a rugby ball underneath.

    Mercifully, the injuries that many thought inevitable on such a track did not materialise, and in general the pitch held up well for the 80 minutes.

    With the game being played totally on their terms in the second half, Ireland removed Sexton and Conor Murray, who once again displayed their importance to the side in two perfectly-controlled displays.

    The game situation also allowed Schmidt to give second-choice fly-half Joey Carbery some vital minutes to make an impression, with the Munster man having played just 20 minutes in the previous three games.

    After Stander powered over following sustained Irish pressure inside the Samoan five-metre line, it was Carbery's well-judged grubber kick that allowed Conway to put the finishing touches on a hugely satisfactory Irish display.

    Match stats

    Bundee Aki is the first player to be sent off for Ireland in a World Cup match, and the fourth to be sent off in any game for Ireland (Willie Duggan, Jamie Heaslip, CJ Stander).
    Samoa have now lost each of their last 11 games against Tier 1 opposition at the Rugby World Cup, their last such victory coming back in 1999 against Wales.
    There have now been seven red cards shown at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the previous highest at the tournament was four in both 1995 and 1999.
    This was the fifth time 14 men have beaten 15 in a Rugby World Cup match (excluding sin-binnings). Only Canada's 72-11 win against Namibia in 1999 has seen a bigger margin of victory (42 points) for the outnumbered side.
    This was just the fourth time Ireland have scored 4+ first-half tries in a Rugby World Cup match, five v Namibia 2003, five v Russia 2011, four v Canada in 2015.
    Ireland: Larmour; Earls, Henshaw, Aki, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Furlong, Henderson, James Ryan; Beirne, Van der Flier, Stander.

    Replacements: Scannell, Kilcoyne, Porter, Kleyn, O'Mahony, McGrath, Carbery, Conway.

    Samoa: Nanai-Williams; Tuala, Leiua, Taefu, Fidow; Seuteni, Polataivao; Mulipola, S Lam Alaalatoa, Paulo, Le'aupepe; Vui, Ioane, J Lam.

    Replacements: Niuia, Alo-Emile, Lay, Fa'asalele, Tyrell, Cowley, Pisi, Fonotia.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50012877


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  9. #89
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    Rugby World Cup Pool A: Japan v Scotland
    Venue: International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama Date: Sunday, 13 October Kick-off: 11:45 BST

    Scotland's World Cup game with Japan will go ahead on Sunday, World Rugby has confirmed.

    Gregor Townsend's men would have been eliminated from the World Cup had the Pool A finale been cancelled.

    The game was under threat from Typhoon Hagibis, with a switch of dates already ruled out.

    The host nation lead Scotland by four points after three victories and a cancellation would have resulted in the match being declared a draw.

    Group rivals Ireland have secured their place in the last eight with a bonus-point win over Samoa.

    Scotland must now take four more points than Japan to progress to the quarter finals.

    The pool runners-up will face New Zealand in the last eight next Saturday, while the pool winners will face South Africa next Sunday.

    An inspection of the stadium in Yokohama by World Rugby took place at 22:00 BST on Saturday, with an announcement made nearly five hours later.

    The New Zealand v Italy and England v France games scheduled for Saturday were cancelled.

    World Rugby rules state that "where a pool match cannot be commenced on the day in which it is scheduled, it shall not be postponed to the following day and shall be considered as cancelled. In such situations, the result shall be allocated two points each and no score registered".

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/scotland/50028137


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  10. #90
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    United States 19-31 Tonga: Tongans end Rugby World Cup campaign with win


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  11. #91
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    2019 Rugby World Cup: Wales v UruguayWales (7) 35Tries: Smith, Adams, Penalty try, T Williams, G Davies Cons: Halfpenny 4Uruguay (6) 13Try: Kessler Con: Berchesi Pens: Berchesi 2

    A shadow Wales side laboured to a bonus-point victory over minnows Uruguay to set up a World Cup quarter-final against France.

    Wales only led 7-6 after a first half littered with handling errors, the only try coming from prop Nicky Smith.

    Josh Adams' fifth score in Japan and a penalty try extended the advantage, only for German Kessler to drive over.

    Replacements Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies both crossed to seal the bonus point as Wales topped Pool D.

    They only needed two points to do so - thanks to their head-to-head record against Australia - but this result also means they have won all of their World Cup group matches for the first time s

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50025551
    Last edited by MenInG; 13th October 2019 at 17:21.


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  12. #92
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    Full-time Japan 28-21 Scotland
    Rugby history is made. Japan - glorious, relentless host nation Japan - are World Cup quarter-finalists for the first time.

    2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A: Japan v Scotland
    Japan: (21) 28
    Tries: Matsushima, Inagaki, Fukuoka (2) Con: Tamura (4)
    Scotland: (7) 21
    Tries: Russell, Nel, Fagerson Con: Laidlaw (2), Russell
    Scotland crashed out of the Rugby World Cup at the pool stage for only the second time after being beaten by an irrepressible Japan in Yokohama.

    Gregor Townsend's side needed four more points than their hosts but, despite leading through Finn Russell's try and mounting a comeback, they fell short.

    Kotaro Matsushima, Keita Inagaki and Kenki Fukuoka all crossed before half-time before the latter blasted over again to secure Japan's first ever quarter-final - against South Africa in Tokyo on Sunday.

    Scotland, forced to go for broke in a febrile contest that had been in doubt until around 03:00 BST because of the effects of Typhoon Hagibis, scored through WP Nel and Zander Fagerson after the break.

    But that second-half rally was not enough to prevent a first defeat at the hands of Japan in eight Tests.

    The result also means Ireland finish runners-up in Pool A and will face New Zealand in the last eight in Tokyo on Saturday.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50022086


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  13. #93
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    So the final 8...



    Saturday, 19 October

    Quarter-final 1: England v Australia (Oita), 08:15
    Quarter-final 2: New Zealand v Ireland (Tokyo), 11:15

    Sunday, 20 October
    Quarter-final 3: Wales v France (Oita), 08:15
    Quarter-final 4: Japan v South Africa (Tokyo), 11:15


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  14. #94
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    2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final: New Zealand v Ireland
    Venue: Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo Date: Saturday, 19 October Kick-off: 11:15 BST

    Ireland centre Bundee Aki's World Cup is over after he was handed a three-match ban following his red card against Samoa on Sunday.

    Ireland's attempts to have the red card overturned proved unsuccessful.

    However, because of the New Zealand-born player's good disciplinary record, the ban was reduced from six games.

    Aki, 29, can appeal against the ban but, as it stands, he is set to miss Saturday's quarter-final against the All Blacks.

    He will also be unavailable for any further matches in the tournament if Ireland earn a surprise win over the defending champions.

    Ireland management 'disappointed' by verdict
    A brief statement from Irish Rugby said that Ireland management's "are disappointed with the outcome of Bundee's hearing and will review the judicial committee's written report once received".

    Aki was sent off in the 47-5 Pool A win in Fukuoka on Saturday for a high tackle on UJ Seuteni.

    "The player sought to overturn the red card," said World Rugby.

    "Having considered all the angles of the incident, together with evidence from the player and his representatives, the committee upheld the decision of the referee."

    Ireland flew out specialist lawyer Derek Hegarty to Japan for Aki's disciplinary hearing.

    Aki would have been pushing hard for a start in Saturday's New Zealand match, and his absence could pave the way for the fit-again Robbie Henshaw to partner Garry Ringrose in midfield.

    Following Saturday's game, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said Aki, who is of Samoan descent, had been "devastated" by his red card.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50045439


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  15. #95
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    Rugby World Cup: Scotland face disciplinary hearing over Mark Dodson comments


    World Rugby has referred the Scottish Rugby Union to its disciplinary committee over chief executive Mark Dodson's comments in the build-up to the World Cup game against Japan.

    The match was in doubt due to Typhoon Hagibis and would have been cancelled, eliminating Scotland, if it hadn't taken place in Yokohama on Sunday.

    Dodson had criticised World Rugby's "rigidity" and hinted at legal action.

    The game went ahead and Scotland lost 28-21 to exit at the group stage.

    At a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday tournament director Alan Gilpin confirmed that the matter was now being handled by its disciplinary committee, adding "under tournament rules we're careful that people behave appropriately".

    World Cup rules state that "where a pool match cannot be commenced on the day in which it is scheduled, it shall not be postponed to the following day and shall be considered as cancelled. In such situations, the result shall be allocated two points each and no score registered".

    Dodson pushed for a postponement and claimed more effort would have been put in to ensuring the game went ahead if it involved New Zealand.

    At the press conference Mr Gilpin praised tournament staff, some of whom slept at Yokohama stadium the night of the typhoon, so that match preparation work could begin as soon as it had passed.

    He added that World Rugby had not yet started to count the cost of the three cancelled matches, which included England's pool game against France, the first time in the tournament's history that games have had to be cancelled.

    Mr Gilpin admitted that there would be a financial cost, but added: "It doesn't change the fact that it was the right thing to do. The economic reality is something we'll look at when the tournament is finished."

    When asked about the standard of refereeing, which World Rugby criticised at the start of the tournament in an unprecedented step, chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said that the refereeing "has improved" and that it was of a "good" standard.

    There has been a record seven red cards issued so far at this World Cup and World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said the governing body was willing to "risk conversation and debate" as it drives "player welfare is the hard line to protect the players". He added that he believes there will be fewer red cards in the future as layers and coaches adapt to more stringent punishments for high tackles.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50052435


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  16. #96
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    Rugby World Cup quarter-final: England v Australia
    Venue: Oita Stadium Date: Saturday, 19 October Kick-off: 08:15 BST

    England have dropped George Ford for their crunch World Cup quarter-final against Australia, with Owen Farrell picked in his place at fly-half.

    Ford has started every game at this World Cup and has been among England's most impressive performers.

    But head coach Eddie Jones has jettisoned him in favour of his old friend Farrell for the biggest game of his four-year regime, opting for a midfield of Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade.

    Both Billy and Mako Vunipola have been declared fit to start, with George Kruis also dropped to the bench and Courtney Lawes starting in his place.

    Jones said: "We need to defend with brutality and when we have the ball we need to play on top of them.

    "Australia are a clever team, they will have some specific attacking strategies to play against us so we need to have a great situational awareness."

    Although the Farrell, Tuilagi and Slade combination was Jones's first choice throughout this year's Six Nations, this still represents a significant gamble from the veteran coach, with Slade not having played more than a half of rugby since May after a serious knee injury.

    For Ford too it is history repeating itself, after previous England coach Stuart Lancaster dropped him for the group game defeat against Australia at the last World Cup.

    Jones has stuck with the youthful pairing of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill in the back row, while Jonny May wins his 50th cap on the wing.

    But there is no place even on the bench for Jack Nowell, who has failed to recover from a hamstring injury.

    Jones said: "Once you get to the quarter-finals it's about having the right mindset.

    "We know how well we can play, it's about us playing to our strengths and trying to take away from what Australia want."

    More to follow.

    England team to face Australia:

    15 Elliot Daly

    14 Anthony Watson

    13 Henry Slade

    12 Manu Tuilagi

    11 Jonny May

    10 Owen Farrell (captain)

    9 Ben Youngs

    1 Mako Vunipola

    2 Jamie George

    3 Kyle Sinckler

    4 Maro Itoje

    5 Courtney Lawes

    6 Tom Curry

    7 Sam Underhill

    8 Billy Vunipola

    Replacements

    16 Luke Cowan-Dickie

    17 Joe Marler

    18 Dan Cole

    19 George Kruis

    20 Lewis Ludlam

    21 Willi Heinz

    22 George Ford

    23 Jonathan Joseph

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50067955


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  17. #97
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    Cape Town - The Springboks have reverted to the starting XV and replacements that recorded a 49-3 victory over Italy a fortnight ago for the do-or-die Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Japan in Tokyo on Sunday.

    It means 13 changes to the starting XV from the one which concluded the Boks' pool campaign with a 66-7 demolition of Canada in Kobe last Tuesday.

    Only Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende - who switches from outside centre back to the more familiar inside centre position - are retained from the Kobe XV.

    They are joined in the line-up by the balance of the starting XV from the seven-try-to-nil overwhelming of Italy in what has become a familiar ‘senior’ line-up.

    "We were satisfied with the performance against Italy and want to build on that," said coach Rassie Erasmus.

    "We have been improving and building momentum this season and we will be looking for further improvements this weekend.

    "Japan are a well-coached team and have deservedly climbed to seventh in the world rankings. It’ll be a good challenge but we’re definitely up for it."

    Front-rankers Tendai Mtawarira and Bongi Mbonambi, as well as Lood de Jager retain their places in the starting line-up, having been elevated to the XV from the one which lost against New Zealand in the opening match of the tournament.

    The starting XV boasts 665 caps - the most in a Springbok team since the 2015 Rugby World Cup - when the squad included three Test centurions in Jean de Villiers, Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana.

    "When we set out on this campaign at the start of last season, one of the things we said we wanted to do was broaden and deepen the experience in the squad," said Erasmus.

    "We're now in a position where everyone in the starting XV has had a proper taste of top-level Test rugby and we've got a strong spine of Test experience for these high-pressure matches.

    "You need that experience when it comes to handling the pressure situations we will face on Sunday and I think we've achieved that now."

    The team to meet Japan contains five players with 50 or more caps in Willie le Roux, Duane Vermeulen (who wins 50th cap as a No 8 - a Springbok record), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth and centurion Mtawarira.

    There are another four players in the 40s in Kolisi, De Jager, De Allende and Handré Pollard. Twelve of the starting XV - and 21 of the 23 - were in the team that overcame Japan six-tries-to-one (41-7) in Kumagaya, Japan, six weeks ago.

    The only absentees are Trevor Nyakane (prop) and Jesse Kriel (centre), who have both been invalided out of the tournament. De Jager and prop Vincent Koch - who is on the bench - are the only two players who were not in the match 23 for the victory over Japan.

    Erasmus again announced a six-two replacement split in favour of the forwards (rather than the traditional five-three), as was successfully deployed against the Azzurri.

    "We will look at our replacement strategy on a game-by-game basis and for this opponent on this occasion we believe we’ll need fresh legs among the forwards at some point," said Erasmus.

    "We're very fortunate in that we have a squad that has a number of highly versatile players among forwards and backs who can slot into a number of positions to cover all eventualities."

    The Springboks are aiming to reach the Rugby World Cup semi-finals for the fifth time in seven appearances while, for Japan, it is their first appearance in the play-off rounds at the ninth attempt.

    The winner will play the victor in the France v Wales match in Yokohama on Sunday, October 27.

    South Africa's quarter-final with Japan kicks off at 12:15 (SA time) on Sunday.

    Teams:

    Japan

    TBA

    South Africa

    15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

    Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn

    https://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Rugb...final-20191017


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  18. #98
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    A Scotsman walks into a bar. Usually there'd be an Englishman, Welshman and Irishman too, but they're still in Japan.


    We're on the road to nowhere...

  19. #99
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    Rugby World Cup quarter-final: Ireland v New Zealand
    Venue: Tokyo Stadium Date: Saturday 19 October Kick-off: 11:15 BST

    Experienced duo Rob Kearney and Peter O'Mahony have been restored to the Ireland team for Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand.

    Garry Ringrose will partner Rob Henshaw in the centre for the first time in 16 months as head coach Joe Schmidt makes three changes from the win over Samoa.

    Champions New Zealand have trusted Jack Goodhue and Anton Leinert-Brown to solve their midfield conundrum.

    Brodie Retallick is named at lock despite little game time in Japan.

    Beauden Barrett will once again operate at full-back with Richie Mo'unga at fly-half while Cody Taylor is preferred to Dane Coles at hooker.

    Experienced duo Ryan Crotty and Ben Smith are not included in Steve Hansen's matchday 23 with Sonny Bill Williams only among the replacements.

    Goodhue and scrum-half Aaron Smith are the only starting backs who played in their defeat by Ireland in Dublin last year, which is also the last time they failed to score a try.

    Twelve players who began Ireland's victory last November keep their place with Henshaw, Murray and Iain Henderson replacing Bundee Aki, Kieran Marmion and Devin Toner.

    Unlike four years ago, head coach Joe Schmidt has not had to deal with a huge number of fitness concerns in the build-up to the quarter-final.

    Of his 31-man squad, only Aki was unavailable for selection following his red card last weekend, while Ulster hooker Rob Herring trained on Thursday having been flown in to replace the injured Sean Cronin.

    Despite offering a compelling case for selection with a stand-out display at full-back against Samoa, Jordan Larmour is on the bench with Schmidt favouring the experience of 94-time capped Kearney.

    Lions forward O'Mahony is also preferred in the back row at the expense of Tadhg Beirne.

    "There are probably four or five, maybe half a dozen, reasonably tight selection decisions," said Schmidt on Thursday.

    "You can't guarantee you've got any decision right until the game is completed."

    Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton will become Ireland's most-capped starting half-back duo, overtaking Peter Stringer and Ronan O'Gara by lining up together for the 56th time.

    New Zealand's Pool B schedule was reduced to just three games after their final match against Italy was cancelled as a result of Typhoon Hagibis.

    Despite being denied the chance to finish the pool with four wins from four, the All Blacks still finished top courtesy of three victories and two bonus-points in their opening matches.

    Goodhue missed the opening win against the Springboks with a hamstring injury, but impressed sufficiently against Canada and Namibia to retain his place in the starting XV.

    Leinert-Brown remains at inside-centre having operated at 13 against South Africa, as head coach Steve Hansen continues with his dual-playmaking threat of Barrett and Mo'unga.

    Retallick, capped 78 times, was restricted to just 30 minutes of action, against Namibia, in the group stages as he returned from a dislocated shoulder but will renew his vastly experienced partnership with Sam Whitelock in the second row.

    The reigning champions are undefeated in their last 17 World Cup fixtures, last tasting defeat against France in the 2007 quarter-finals.

    Ireland: Kearney; Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Furlong, Henderson, James Ryan, O'Mahony; Van der Flier, Stander.

    Replacements: Scannell, Kilcoyne, Porter, Beirne, Ruddock, McGrath, Carbery, Larmour.

    New Zealand: B Barrett; Reece, Goodhue, Lienert-Brown, Bridge; Mo'unga, Smith; Moody, Taylor, Laulala, Retallick, Whitelock; Savea, Cane, Reid.

    Replacements: Coles, Tuungafasi, Ta'avao, S Barrett, Todd, Perenara, Williams, J Barrett.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50079256


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  20. #100
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    England 17-9 Australia in QF at the moment


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  21. #101
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    England 27-16 Australia - at the moment


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  22. #102
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    Penalty - England 30-16 Australia


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  23. #103
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    England are through to World Cup semi-finals with a ruthless performance against Australia to win by 40-16 margin;


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  24. #104
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    New Zealand smashing Ireland all over the park.

    Big second half needed by Ireland.



  25. #105
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    How on earth did Ireland get to number 1 in the world.

  26. #106
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    Nigel Owens doing his best to help Ireland save some pride. Awful penalty try call.

  27. #107
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    Now that's what you call a hammering.

    What a performance by the All Blacks.



  28. #108
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  29. #109
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    All Blacks are gonna take it again. They are on an Australia cricket streak at the moment.

    We look a level above everyone else.

  30. #110
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    Well, we beat Australia. That’s the main thing. But the All Black will knock us out.

    Then it will be Wales or France vs Japan or SA. That will mean Wales-Japan in the other semi.

    And All Blacks-Japan in an all-Pacific final with ABs winning.

  31. #111
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    Rugby World Cup quarter-final: Ireland v New Zealand
    New Zealand: (22) 46
    Tries: A Smith 2, B Barrett, Taylor, Todd, Bridge, J Barrett Cons: Mo'unga 4 Pen: Mo'unga
    Ireland: (0) 14
    Try: Henshaw, penalty try Con: Carbery
    New Zealand will meet England in the World Cup semi-finals after condemning Ireland to a seventh quarter-final exit with a 46-14 hammering in Tokyo.

    Two tries from Aaron Smith and one by Beauden Barrett helped the All Blacks to a 22-0 lead at half-time.

    The holders scored further tries through Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, George Bridge and Jordie Barrett.

    Robbie Henshaw's score and a penalty try did nothing to recover what was a disastrous display for Ireland.

    Billed as the defining final chapter in Joe Schmidt's tenure as head coach, Ireland's World Cup in Japan will go down as another failure with no indication that the team are any closer to the world's elite than they were when they exited at the same stage four years ago.

    This was Ireland's second defeat in the tournament - their 19-12 Pool A loss to hosts Japan having deprived them of a last-eight meeting with South Africa and a possibly easier route to a first semi-final.

    Meanwhile, the All Blacks will move into the semi-finals as even stronger favourites to lift a third successive Webb Ellis Cup than they were at the start of the tournament having produced a display that few, if any, sides would be capable of delivering.

    All Blacks rise as Irish crumble
    The narrative from the Ireland camp remained consistent throughout the week-long build-up: they had to produce an almost flawless display if they were to even run New Zealand close.

    However, not for a single minute of Saturday's contest did it look as though Ireland possessed the tools capable of derailing the champions.

    Indeed, it was New Zealand who produced what was infinitely closer to perfect rugby, taking their game to a level with which Ireland could not contend.

    After Richie Mo'unga had kicked his side ahead, Smith navigated the All Blacks deep into Ireland territory before darting through a gap to score.

    Although still in the first quarter, the signs were looking ominous for Ireland, with New Zealand winning the battle at the breakdown and punching holes in the defence as they stretched their play left, right and back again through the scintillating back three of Barrett, Sevu Reece and Bridge.

    Ireland needed a spark and had the opportunity to push New Zealand onto their try-line with a kick to the corner, but Johnny Sexton missed his touch and two minutes later the ball was back at the opposite end of the pitch, with Smith diving over again from close range.

    The third try, which killed off any faint Irish hopes of a revival, came from an Ireland move inside the New Zealand 22, with Reece's hit on Sexton dislodging the ball, allowing Barrett to kick through and gather beyond the line.

    After spending much of 2019 clinging onto the form of last year as an indicator of their potential, Ireland's defeat by New Zealand in Tokyo presents a far clearer picture of their place on the world stage than their win over the All Blacks 10 months ago did.

    The manner of the loss leaves little room for an argument that Ireland can be considered among the top sides in the world.

    By the time Taylor dived over on 48 minutes after his side had worked the ball through the phases, it was clear that New Zealand were operating on a level that Ireland were not capable of reaching.

    For all of Ireland's shortcomings, the All Blacks were relentlessly wonderful.

    Their fifth try arrived after the forwards set-up field position for Mo'unga to kick crossfield for Reece to gather and present for Todd to score.

    Ireland did score eventually, as Henshaw cut back against the grain to put his side on the board 10 minutes from time.

    Bridge and Jordie Barrett, having been introduced from the bench, benefited from more superb New Zealand ball movement to add further scores either sides of Ireland's penalty try.

    Beauden Barrett
    Beauden Barrett made 21 carries in the game, the most by a New Zealand player in a World Cup match
    Match stats
    New Zealand have won 29 of their 32 meetings with Ireland in Test rugby (D1, L2), including both of their matches at the World Cup (43-19 in 1995).
    Ireland have lost all seven of their World Cup quarter-finals, never making it past this round, No side has endured as many losses at this stage.
    Two of Ireland's three biggest defeats under Joe Schmidt have now come in World Cup quarter-finals (also 43-20 v Argentina in 2015), while the other came less than two months ago against England (57-15).
    New Zealand scored seven or more tries in a World Cup knockout match for the third time in their history (eight v Wales in 1987, nine v France in 2015). No other side has scored more than six tries in a match beyond the pool stage of the tournament.
    Matt Todd became the fifth player to score a try and be yellow-carded in a World Cup knockout game - the previous four were all from New Zealand or France (S Betsen, L Picamoles, L McAlister, J Kaino).
    The teams
    New Zealand: B Barrett; Reece, Goodhue, Lienert-Brown, Bridge; Mo'unga, Smith; Moody, Taylor, Laulala, Retallick, Whitelock; Savea, Cane, Reid.

    Replacements: Coles, Tuungafasi, Ta'avao, S Barrett, Todd, Perenara, Williams, J Barrett.

    Ireland: Kearney; Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Furlong, Henderson, James Ryan, O'Mahony; Van der Flier, Stander.

    Replacements: Scannell, Kilcoyne, Porter, Beirne, Ruddock, McGrath, Carbery, Larmour.


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  32. #112
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    Ireland fans have appeared to fire the All Blacks up after singing through the entire pre-match haka before New Zealand’s quarter-final against Ireland.

    The Tokyo Stadium crowd could feel the hairs on the back of their neck stand up after the two teams belted out their national stadiums — but the niceties ended there.

    The All Blacks assembled on their own side of halfway to perform their haka, but leader TJ Perenara couldn’t be heard as he began to scream out his team’s challenge to Ireland.

    Stream the Rugby World Cup 2019 on KAYO SPORTS. Every match Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >

    As the All Blacks started walking towards the Irish team at the start of the Kapo o pango war cry, Ireland fans in the stadium began singing traditional folk song The Fields Of Athenry.

    However, Irish fans may want to have that one back after being demolished 46-14 as the All Blacks booked a semi-final date with England.

    The song was sung so loud inside the stadium that All Blacks players appeared to lose their connection with Perenara, appearing out of synch at times.

    Players including Kieran Read were also spotted eyeing the Irish players for longer than usual after the haka was concluded.

    It comes after Irish rugby writer Ewan MacKenna wrote a column saying “The haka gives New Zealand an unfair advantage and needs to stop”.

    The column said: “That’s unfortunate as New Zealand are justifiably big-headed enough without a massaging of their already massive egos.

    “Yet even World Rugby have it in their rules that to not stand on your own 10-metre line and watch a bunch stick out their tongues and slap their thighs is worthy of a fine and a telling off.”

    All Blacks skipper Kieran Read hit back on the eve of the quarterfinal between the teams.

    “It’s as far from the truth as you can get, really. It’s not about the opposition, it’s about us as the All Blacks and a tradition that it’s held for us over 100 years,” Read said.

    “It’s about connecting to guys who have gone before us and (with) the people and the land we’re in at that moment. It’s a tradition that we keep enjoying and will keep doing.”

    The world was quick to react to the crowd singing over the haka but the reaction was mixed with some labelling the singing disrespectful and others defending the act.

    https://www.news.com.au/sport/rugby/...2ca38cc70a6535


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  33. #113
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  34. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Ireland fans have appeared to fire the All Blacks up after singing through the entire pre-match haka before New Zealand’s quarter-final against Ireland.

    The Tokyo Stadium crowd could feel the hairs on the back of their neck stand up after the two teams belted out their national stadiums — but the niceties ended there.

    The All Blacks assembled on their own side of halfway to perform their haka, but leader TJ Perenara couldn’t be heard as he began to scream out his team’s challenge to Ireland.

    Stream the Rugby World Cup 2019 on KAYO SPORTS. Every match Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >

    As the All Blacks started walking towards the Irish team at the start of the Kapo o pango war cry, Ireland fans in the stadium began singing traditional folk song The Fields Of Athenry.


    However, Irish fans may want to have that one back after being demolished 46-14 as the All Blacks booked a semi-final date with England.

    The song was sung so loud inside the stadium that All Blacks players appeared to lose their connection with Perenara, appearing out of synch at times.

    Players including Kieran Read were also spotted eyeing the Irish players for longer than usual after the haka was concluded.

    It comes after Irish rugby writer Ewan MacKenna wrote a column saying “The haka gives New Zealand an unfair advantage and needs to stop”.

    The column said: “That’s unfortunate as New Zealand are justifiably big-headed enough without a massaging of their already massive egos.

    “Yet even World Rugby have it in their rules that to not stand on your own 10-metre line and watch a bunch stick out their tongues and slap their thighs is worthy of a fine and a telling off.”

    All Blacks skipper Kieran Read hit back on the eve of the quarterfinal between the teams.

    “It’s as far from the truth as you can get, really. It’s not about the opposition, it’s about us as the All Blacks and a tradition that it’s held for us over 100 years,” Read said.

    “It’s about connecting to guys who have gone before us and (with) the people and the land we’re in at that moment. It’s a tradition that we keep enjoying and will keep doing.”

    The world was quick to react to the crowd singing over the haka but the reaction was mixed with some labelling the singing disrespectful and others defending the act.

    https://www.news.com.au/sport/rugby/...2ca38cc70a6535
    That's not on.

  35. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert View Post
    That's not on.
    Why not?


    Lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of Sheep

  36. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingKhanWC View Post
    Why not?
    One should respect their culture.

  37. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert View Post
    One should respect their culture.
    The Haka?

    Kiwis do this to indimidate the opposition so dont see the problem with opposition fans who to counter this.

    I agree with Gary Liniker, the Haka may be their tradition but it's laughable this in any way inditmidates a proffesional outfit, most of the opposition players must be laughing in their boots instead of shaking in them.


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  38. #118
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    The game will be cracker- England with the power and the AB's with the skill. Can the AB centres stop Manu, and can England cope with the 2 AB playmaker, and their tactical
    Nouse.

  39. #119
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    Brilliant performance from the boys.

    England will be a lot tougher, but am happy with how the team is playing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Convict View Post
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  40. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Space Cat View Post
    How on earth did Ireland get to number 1 in the world.
    Nice guys always finish last and Ireland are the nice guys of rugby union. The happy go lucky nature of Irish fans in general even when on the receiving end of a heavy defeat will ultimately condemn their sporting teams to mediocrity.


  41. #121
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    2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final: Wales v France
    Venue: Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture Date: Sunday, 20 October Kick-off: 08:15 BST
    Coverage: Full commentary on every Wales game across BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.
    Wales will be looking to avenge their 2011 World Cup semi-final defeat when they face France in Oita on Sunday in the 2019 quarter-finals.

    The two teams have only met once in the global tournament when France agonisingly defeated Wales 9-8 in Auckland eight years ago.

    Wales almost pulled off a stunning win after captain Sam Warburton was red carded after 19 minutes for a tip tackle on Vincent Clerc.

    Eight years on, Wales look far more settled then their French opponents having won seven out of the last eight matches between the two sides since that day in 2011.

    Wales have proved impressive in achieving quarter-final qualification, winning Pool D by defeating Georgia, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.

    There have been reports of unrest in the French camp but Les Bleus are also unbeaten.

    France finished second in Pool C behind England after victories over Argentina, Tonga and USA.

    The pool decider against England was called off because of Typhoon Hagibis with both sides being awarded two points each. England topped the group after securing more bonus points in their three wins.

    Team news
    Wales backs Jonathan Davies, Dan Biggar and Hadleigh Parkes have all been passed fit as Warren Gatland names the same starting side that played against Georgia and Australia.

    Davies has recovered from a knee injury suffered against Fiji, while Parkes picked up a shoulder problem against Uruguay having already suffered a small fracture in his hand against Georgia.

    Biggar suffered separate head injuries against Fiji and Australia and was forced off in both games but has passed the return to play protocols.

    Wing George North is also available after recovering from an ankle injury.

    France have made five changes from the side that defeated Tonga. Scrum-half Antoine Dupont had been troubled by a back problem, but will take his place alongside half-back partner Romain Ntamack.

    The starting side consists of 14 players from their opening win against Argentina with the only change being lock Bernard le Roux starting instead of Arthur Iturria.

    Brunel's side shows six changes from the team that lost 24-19 to Wales in the Six Nations in February.

    Full-back Maxime Medard is also the only survivor from the French team which beat Wales in the 2011 World Cup semi-final in Auckland.

    Wales: L Williams; North, Jonathan Davies, Parkes, Adams; Biggar, G Davies; Wyn Jones, Owens, Francis, Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Wainwright, Navidi, Tipuric.

    Replacements: E Dee, Carre, D Lewis, Beard, Moriarty, T Williams, Patchell, Watkin.

    France: Medard; Penaud, Vakatawa, Fickou, Huget; Ntamack, Dupont; Poirot, Guirado (capt), Slimani, Le Roux, Vahaamahina, Lauret, Ollivon, Alldritt.

    Replacements: Chat, Baille, Setiano, Gabrillagues, Picamoles, Serin, Lopez, Rattez.

    Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa); Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Paul Williams (New Zealand); TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa).

    What they said
    Wales head coach Warren Gatland: "France are a big team, a physical team. We've had a great record against them, we've won seven of the last eight games and the one we lost was the 100-minute game in Paris where they scored in the last minute.

    "As coaches and players, this is what you do all the hard work and training for. It's all for big moments and to try to get to finals.

    "As a coaching group, we've had a lot of success in big matches when it's really counted, whether that's been in Grand Slam games, European finals or Premiership finals with Wasps or even on (British & Irish) Lions tours as well.

    "We've got a pretty good formula as a group about getting things right. It's not just about the physical preparation, it's about being mentally right and the top two inches everyone talks about."

    France head coach Jacques Brunel: "Wales's confidence is higher than ours, that's obvious. Their ranking is much better. They've been consistent for a few seasons. That's undeniable.

    "They're not going to change their strategy. They're going to rely on a very strong defensive screen, quality individuals, their ability to put the opposition under pressure.

    "They're the favourites. We're in the role of the underdog. That's logical, normal, but it doesn't stop us believing in our chances."

    The ground
    Set within parkland just outside Oita City, Oita Stadium, also known as the Oita Bank Dome, hosts five Rugby World Cup 2019 matches, including two quarter-finals after England and Australia played in the opening knockout game.

    This will be Wales's second match at the ground following their 29-17 Pool D win over Fiji.

    It is the largest World Cup venue on the southern island of Kyushu with a capacity of 40,000 and hosted three matches in the 2002 football World Cup finals.

    The stadium has a retractable dome roof with roof system driven by a wire traction system. The roof is closed for all the World Cup matches.

    Match stats
    Wales and France will meet for the second time at the World Cup.
    Alun Wyn Jones, Jonathan Davies and George North all started the 9-8 defeat by France in the 2011 semi-final. Bradley Davies and Leigh Halfpenny also took part in that game but have not been selected in Sunday's match-day 23.
    The last meeting between these teams took place at the Stade de France in February 2019, Wales winning 24-19.
    That win set them on the road to the Grand Slam - but Wales trailed by 16 points at half-time.
    There have been 97 Test encounters between these sides, with Wales winning 50 and France 44, while three matches were drawn.
    Wales have won seven of their last eight games against France. The only exception was a 20-18 Six Nations triumph for France at the Stade de France on 18 March, 2017.
    Wales have only had a perfect record after the pool phase at the 1987 World Cup, when they won all three matches. They finished third overall, their best result in the tournament.
    Wales have reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the sixth time and are looking for a third semi-final appearance to go alongside 1987 and 2011.
    Captain Alun Wyn Jones will play his 141st test match for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, equalling Brian O'Driscoll's record for a player from the original Five Nations. Richie McCaw (148) and Sergio Parisse (142) are the only players who have played more Test matches.
    France are one of three teams to have reached the knockout stages at all nine World Cups. The other two are New Zealand and Australia.
    France have won six of their previous eight World Cup quarter-finals. They lost only in 1991 to England and 2015 against New Zealand.
    Romain and Emile Ntamack are the first father and son to represent France in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup. Ross Moriarty will join father Paul in playing in a World Cup quarter-final if he comes off the replacements' bench for Wales.
    Source: https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50096013.


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  42. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingKhanWC View Post
    The Haka?

    Kiwis do this to indimidate the opposition so dont see the problem with opposition fans who to counter this.

    I agree with Gary Liniker, the Haka may be their tradition but it's laughable this in any way inditmidates a proffesional outfit, most of the opposition players must be laughing in their boots instead of shaking in them.
    It's not really about intimidation anymore. The Haka was used by Maori's before a battle to intimidate the other side. Of course if they had weapons and ready for war, it would look scary.

    The All Blacks mainly do it to embrace the Maori Culture. They probably know it isn't intimidating anyone.
    Another thing the Haka does is that it pumps up the people doing it. The All Blacks are pumped up by it and are ready to play and go hard.

    No other country gives so much importance to it's native people as New Zealand do. Many people in America still don't respect the natives. Aborginal people were still classified as Animals even a decade ago. Maori are given so many rights in New Zealand. Their are special quotas for them in Universities. If you want to build a house or extend your home, you have to get permission from your local tribes chief just in case their isn't some bones or anything burried under that area. NZ also treated Maori's badly half a century ago, but now they are treated like superhumans over here.

  43. #123
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    Wales v France happening now....


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  44. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Space Cat View Post
    How on earth did Ireland get to number 1 in the world.
    Same way as every team - by winning more games than anyone else for a while.

    But they peaked too early for the World Cup and are in decline.

    NZ are peaking at the right time.

  45. #125
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    Wales 10-12 France - looks like a close affair.


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  46. #126
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    Good start by France. Leading 19 10 at the moment.



  47. #127
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    So many errors from France. They could have been well ahead at half-time.

    They'll be hoping they don't regret those first half mistakes.



  48. #128
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    20-19 to Wales.

    France with only themselves to blame. Handling errors at crucial moments and a stupid sending-off.



  49. #129
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    Come on Japan.

  50. #130
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    Come on RSA

    Japan 3-5 South Africa HT


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  51. #131
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    FT: Japan 3-26 South Africa

    Easy as it gets!


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  52. #132
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    South Africa ended Japan's dream World Cup run to reach the semi-finals after a bruising 26-3 win against the hosts.

    The Springboks led after a powerful run gave Makazole Mapimpi a try, but went a player down when Tendai Mtawarira was shown a yellow card for a tip tackle.

    Japan could only take a Yu Tamura penalty from the man advantage, making the score 5-3 at half-time.

    Second-half tries from Faf de Klerk and Mapimpi plus Handre Pollard's 11 points put the Springboks out of reach.

    The tries put paid to any hopes of a repeat of Japan's 2015 World Cup win against the same opponents and brought to an end a fairytale four weeks for the hosts.

    The Springboks will now play Wales in the semi-final on Sunday, 27 October, with the winner facing England or New Zealand in the final.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50114773


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  53. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danyaalr01 View Post
    It's not really about intimidation anymore. The Haka was used by Maori's before a battle to intimidate the other side. Of course if they had weapons and ready for war, it would look scary.

    The All Blacks mainly do it to embrace the Maori Culture. They probably know it isn't intimidating anyone.
    Another thing the Haka does is that it pumps up the people doing it. The All Blacks are pumped up by it and are ready to play and go hard.

    No other country gives so much importance to it's native people as New Zealand do. Many people in America still don't respect the natives. Aborginal people were still classified as Animals even a decade ago. Maori are given so many rights in New Zealand. Their are special quotas for them in Universities. If you want to build a house or extend your home, you have to get permission from your local tribes chief just in case their isn't some bones or anything burried under that area. NZ also treated Maori's badly half a century ago, but now they are treated like superhumans over here.
    Thanks for the info. Its great to hear how much respect NZ has for the Maori culture and how both cultures live with understanding. I cant wait to visit NZ.

    Sure, it's not about intimidation anymore but most English fans dont know this which is why they will sing feeling they are backing their team.

    Predictions for NZ v Eng?


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  54. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingkhanwc View Post
    thanks for the info. Its great to hear how much respect nz has for the maori culture and how both cultures live with understanding. I cant wait to visit nz.

    Sure, it's not about intimidation anymore but most english fans dont know this which is why they will sing feeling they are backing their team.

    Predictions for nz v eng?
    nz.

  55. #135
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    I would say we had the WC in the bad if Carter was there, but I really can't say that with confidence.

    Team has done well so far but without Carter you can't be that confident.


    Quote Originally Posted by Convict View Post
    Don't worry bro. Your other thread allows for rain. Maybe it will save you?

  56. #136
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    I only pay attention when the WC is around, so I watched the QF between NZ and IRL.

    Very entertaining even though the All Blacks looked like they were playing against a bunch of kids.


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  57. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingKhanWC View Post
    Thanks for the info. Its great to hear how much respect NZ has for the Maori culture and how both cultures live with understanding. I cant wait to visit NZ.

    Sure, it's not about intimidation anymore but most English fans dont know this which is why they will sing feeling they are backing their team.

    Predictions for NZ v Eng?
    NZ will win.

    But then I said France and Japan would go through so I am not doing so well.

    I would be horrified if England fans sang over the Haka.

  58. #138
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    Rugby World Cup semi-final: England v New Zealand
    Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Saturday, 26 October Kick-off: 09:00 BST

    England expect to have a fully fit squad to choose from when they face New Zealand in Saturday's World Cup semi-final in Yokohama.

    Wing Jonny May scored two tries in the 40-16 quarter-final win over Australia but also suffered a hamstring injury.

    Jack Nowell has also had a hamstring problem but assistant coach Neal Hatley expects both to be available.

    "It's fantastic where we are, all 31 being available for selection at the end of the week," said Hatley.

    "Jonny's bouncing around this morning. He has a small twinge and we'll assess where he is a little bit later today.

    "He's in really good spirits, moving well, and we expect Jack to be fit for selection as well."

    Nowell made his return from an ankle problem against Argentina in the pool stage but a hamstring concern kept the wing out against the Wallabies.

    Hatley says he was "unbelievably impressed" by prop Mako Vunipola's performance against the Wallabies in his first start at the World Cup after a hamstring injury.

    "He continues to go from strength to strength," said Hatley. "And he needs to because Ellis Genge and Joe Marler have been ferocious in training and everyone's putting the pressure on.

    "We've talked before about this team of 31 and everyone's doing their part but Mako, when he plays well like he did, is a real force.

    "Without sounding massively blase about it, I wasn't surprised at the performance he turned in, but I can understand why people outside of our group would look at it and go 'that's a hell of a performance'."

    England coach Eddie Jones is set to name his team to face the All Blacks on Thursday.

    The two-time defending champions beat Ireland 46-14 in Tokyo on Saturday to book their place in the last four.

    New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick says the tournament favourites will have to be "on our game" against a "very good English side".

    "We know they're always physical," said the former World Rugby player of the year.

    "The forwards are very mobile, they carry the ball well and have good skillsets, and also the backs play an expansive game.

    "They've got great attacking assets across the park and a mobile tight five that are scoring tries from 25 metres out. There's lots of variation."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50121833


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  59. #139
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    2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final: Wales v South Africa
    Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Sun, 3 Nov Kick-off: 09:00 GMT

    Wales back-row Josh Navidi is out of the World Cup with a hamstring injury.

    Coach Warren Gatland said he will draft in a back to take the Cardiff Blues player's place in the squad.

    Centre Jonathan Davies missed the quarter-final win over France for Gatland's side, who face South Africa in Sunday's semi-final in Yokohama.

    "Given that we've got six back-rowers and we've got five fit at the moment, we've been a little bit short in numbers in the backs," said Gatland.

    "So it probably will be a back who comes out as a replacement."

    The Wales coach said Navidi's injury is "a grade two hamstring so it's at least a couple of weeks [out]".

    Gatland added: "It's disappointing for him. Hopefully we will keep him out here.

    "Obviously he loses his accreditation, but since he's gone so far in the tournament it will be nice for him to stay out for the next couple of weeks. We're just going through that with him.

    "It's very disappointing for him as he's been very influential and important for us in the last year.

    "It's disappointing to have a player ruled out, but in saying that these games are so physical and to have only one player ruled out at this stage is a real positive for us."

    Wales have strong back-row options, including Ross Moriarty, who came on to replace Navidi when he went off injured in the first half against France.

    Navidi had overtaken Moriarty as Wales' number eight choice for the tournament while Bath's Taulupe Faletau was ruled out in the summer because of a collarbone injury that needed surgery.

    The 28-year-old Navidi has also played at open-side and blind-side for Wales since his debut in 2013.

    Moriarty and Aaron Shingler are similarly versatile while Aaron Wainwright, who scored a try against France, can also switch back-row roles.

    However, Wales have only three centres in Japan, Davies, Hadleigh Parkes and Owen Watkin.

    Ospreys' Watkin started alongside Parkes, who has played in every Wales match at the World Cup despite breaking a bone in his hand in the opening win against Georgia.

    Ospreys centre Scott Williams was part of the extended pre-tournament training squad, as was Cardiff Blues wing Owen Lane, and both those players could be contenders to take Navidi's place in the 31-man party.

    Gatland has yet to decide and said he had "a number of options" but said "yes" when he was asked if he was confident Davies and Parkes will both be fit to face South Africa.

    "He [Davies] has been doing his rehab and recovery so hopefully he will be up and running for training tomorrow [Tuesday]," Gatland added.

    "Hopefully he will be fit and available.

    Wales 2019 World Cup results & fixtures
    Mon, 23 Sept: Wales 43-14 Georgia
    Sun, 29 Sept: Wales 29-25 Australia
    Wed, 9 Oct: Wales 29-17 Fiji
    Sun, 13 Oct: Wales 35-13 Uruguay
    Sun, 20 Oct: Quarter-final - Wales 20-19 France
    Sun, 3 Nov: Semi-final - Wales v South Africa, Yokohama, 09:00 GMT

    "We missed his experience last night [against France]. Owen Watkin is a player for the future, he's a quality kid and has been great for us off the bench. He did well up against two big, physical French centres.

    "In the end the difficult decision with Jonathan was going into the game with two midfielders who weren't 100%.

    "Hadleigh still has a broken bone in his hand, and had a shoulder contusion from the last game. He was carrying that. To have one centre [playing] that was fit was pretty important."

    Wales go into Sunday's semi-final hoping to reach the first final in their history.

    Wales finished third at the inaugural 1987 tournament and fourth in Gatland's first tournament in charge in 2011.

    The Springboks ended Wales' interest in the quarter-finals at the 2015 event hosted by England.

    Navidi is the second Wales player to leave Japan with lock Cory Hill having departed without playing a game having failed to recover from a stress fracture in a leg.

    Dragons' Hill was replaced by Ospreys' Bradley Davies while another Ospreys lock, Adam Beard, arrived late after recovering from appendicitis.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50123273


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  60. #140
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    England are very strong contenders to win - of course NZL will test them for sure!


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  61. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaf348 View Post
    Nice guys always finish last and Ireland are the nice guys of rugby union. The happy go lucky nature of Irish fans in general even when on the receiving end of a heavy defeat will ultimately condemn their sporting teams to mediocrity.
    The way their media has been carrying on about the All Blacks im glad we pummeled them into the ground. On the whole they do have very gracious fans though.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingKhanWC View Post
    The Haka?

    Kiwis do this to indimidate the opposition so dont see the problem with opposition fans who to counter this.

    I agree with Gary Liniker, the Haka may be their tradition but it's laughable this in any way inditmidates a proffesional outfit, most of the opposition players must be laughing in their boots instead of shaking in them.
    Singing in response to the Haka is fine but laughing at an important cultural display is very insulting and he was rightly told to tone it down.

    Im sure professional rugby players are not intimidated but thats not the intent at all it should be received as respectful challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert View Post
    NZ will win.

    But then I said France and Japan would go through so I am not doing so well.

    I would be horrified if England fans sang over the Haka.
    Every time the All Blacks play at Twickenham the fans sing Swing low, sweet Chariot over the Haka and its great.
    Last edited by sweep_shot; 22nd October 2019 at 10:33.

  62. #142
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    Rugby World Cup semi-final: England v New Zealand
    Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Saturday, 26 October Kick-off: 09:00 BST

    New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen is "100% confident" captain Kieran Read will be fit for Saturday's World Cup semi-final against England after the back row missed training on Tuesday.

    Read has a tight calf and so rode a bike in the gym instead of training in the Tokyo rain.

    The 33-year-old is aiming to win his third World Cup after leading the All Blacks to an emphatic 46-14 victory against Ireland in the quarter-finals.

    "There's no issue," said Hansen.

    "We just weren't prepared to put him on a wet track today."

    Tournament favourites New Zealand powered past their pool-stage opponents with ease, beating second-favourites South Africa 23-13 in their opening game.

    The All Blacks scored seven tries against Ireland on Saturday, including one when they were down to 14 men late in the game.

    But Hansen says his side must "do something England haven't seen before" when the teams meet in Yokohama.

    "It's our job to do something different," he said.

    "You practise it, implement it. If it works you're a superstar and if it doesn't you're an idiot.

    "England would say they can tuck the ball up their jersey and do that game and they'll say that they can run it. We can match it with our forward pack.

    "I don't think the forward pack gets as much credit as it should because it's overridden by the other things we do. We want to run with the ball and we've got a good kicking game too."

    Lock Scott Barrett was one of three brothers on the field by the end of New Zealand's win against Ireland, alongside siblings Beauden and Jordie.

    It was not the first time they had teamed up for their country. The Barretts became the first sibling trio to start in a World Cup for New Zealand in a pool-stage game against Canada three weeks ago.

    And Scott and Beauden have the chance to spend time together off the field this week, as they are sharing a room for the first time in 17 years.

    "This week I've roomed with Beaudie for the first time since 2002, when he was in the top bunk," Scott joked.

    "Back then, there were two sets of bunks and there were four of us in there. He's a key driver of our game so to room with him is great.

    "It's my first semi-final and we're considering it as a final. It is a huge week."

    Playing against Heinz 'a bit weird'
    Fellow lock Sam Whitelock will also be sharing the field with a familiar face on Saturday, but his will be on the opposing team.

    Whitelock played alongside England's New Zealand-born scrum-half Willi Heinz at Super Rugby side Crusaders and provincial side Canterbury until Heinz moved to Premiership team Gloucester in 2015.

    Whitelock's wife stayed with Heinz, who qualifies for England through his grandmother, while the All Blacks forward was playing in the 2015 World Cup in England so he says they "know each other pretty well".

    "I haven't had a message from him [this week] yet," Whitelock said. "We'll leave it out there on the field.

    "I haven't played against him while he's been playing for England so it's a little bit weird."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50136760


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  63. #143
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    Jaco Peyper will not referee a World Cup semi-final after mocking sent-off France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina in a picture with Wales fans.

    World Rugby says the South African recognises posing for the picture "was inappropriate and he has apologised".

    In the picture Peyper's elbow is raised into a fan's chin hours after he sent off Vahaamahina for elbowing Aaron Wainwright in Wales' quarter-final win.

    That prompted World Rugby to investigate the post-match incident.

    Vahaamahina announced his retirement a day after his dismissal, saying that decision was pre-planned.

    Welshman Nigel Owens will referee England v New Zealand on Saturday with France's Jerome Garces in charge of Wales v South Africa on Sunday.

    Frenchmen Romain Poite and Pascal Gauzere will assist Owens, with South Africa's Marius Jonker as television match official (TMO).

    Wayne Barnes of England and New Zealand's Ben O'Keeffe will be Garces' assistants with Ben Skeen of New Zealand the TMO.

    French Rugby Federation vice-president Simon, a former France prop, said on Twitter the Peyper picture was "shocking".

    Peyper was officiating in his 50th Test match as Wales progressed to their semi-final against South Africa in Yokohama on Sunday, 3 November.

    Wales coach Warren Gatland said he was aware of the picture of Peyper with Wales fans.

    "He's had his 50th cap, he's posing with a few fans and he's making a bit of a joke about the incident in the game," Gatland said.

    "How people interpret that is up to them. Obviously, the way things are, people like to make mountains out of molehills."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50121693


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  64. #144
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    Rugby World Cup semi-final: England v New Zealand
    Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Saturday, 26 October Kick-off: 09:00 BST

    England defence coach John Mitchell says he "doesn't see any advantage" in opponents spying on training sessions.

    On Tuesday, head coach Eddie Jones said someone was spotted filming from an apartment overlooking their pitch but refused to say who it might have been.

    Mitchell appeared to point the finger at New Zealand before the World Cup semi-final with England on Saturday.

    "If that is what they want to do, and that is the way they want to prepare, good luck to them," he said.

    The former All Blacks boss added: "We just happened to be training where there are apartments above our tiny two-metre fence, so I am not sure about what the use of the tarpaulins are.

    "The facilities have been excellent but it's an area where people live and there is the odd red light around. There was one up in the corner, which was a bit suspicious.

    "It doesn't really worry me. This game is so dynamic now so I don't see any advantage in spying on a team."

    Jones said it "might have been a Japanese fan" but admitted he "used to do it" himself, although stopped back in 2001, yet Mitchell believes spying is still common practice within the sport.

    "When I took over the All Blacks in 2001 we had a manager who was highly military and he loved surveying the whole area," he said.

    "To me, you can get too involved in it and create an anxiety in your group. There is enough pressure at this level without chasing around some blokes that might be in a building with a camera.

    "I was with Sir Clive Woodward when we were going for a Grand Slam against Scotland and we chased somebody from one of the papers around the corner and caught him in a hedge.

    "He was pretty unlucky actually but that was when the game was a lot different to what it is now.

    "I've seen coaches spy, I've had other coaches spy. I've had mates spy as well, but I don't see any advantage."

    'It's difficult to stay calm'
    After Jones had talked up spying accusations, hyped the pressure on New Zealand and undercut expectation on his own team on Tuesday, normality was resumed in the England camp on Wednesday.

    Just three days remain until England take on the All Blacks in Yokohama, bidding to reach their first World Cup final in 12 years against a team which has won the last two editions.

    "The difficult thing is staying calm, staying collected," says open-side flanker Sam Underhill. "With any big game the sense of occasion is already there. I don't think it takes too much to get to another level, physically or emotionally.

    "The difficult thing is making sure you peak at the right time, so you're not getting carried away in the week before the game - making sure that you stay clear and focused."

    Jones will name his starting XV late on Thursday afternoon in Tokyo, with Underhill and his back-row partners Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola likely to be among the first names on his team-sheet.

    At a time in the game's development when the battle at the breakdown has become ever more important - securing quick ball to fire your own team's attack, making an unholy mess of the opposition's to throw their patterns and timings off - the partnership of 23-year-old Underhill and 21-year-old Curry has been critical to England's four-match winning run.

    In last weekend's quarter-final against Australia they subdued the much-lauded pair of David Pocock and Michael Hooper, the duo putting in a remarkable 36 tackles between them as England racked up a 26-point winning margin despite only having a third of possession and territory.

    Four years ago all four World Cup semi-finalists were from the southern hemisphere. This time the split between north and south is an equal one, something Curry puts down to how teams from the Six Nations have changed their approach at the breakdown.

    "I think the north is probably catching up," he said. "Teams, especially in the Premiership, are developing that style and bringing it to the international stage.

    "The way that rugby is going, you see the benefits of that free-flowing game in attack and how teams try to slow ball down at the breakdown.

    "Momentum is huge, and to be able to stop that speeding up is massive."

    Underhill was part of the England team that pushed the All Blacks all the way in their last meeting, the single-point margin of victory hanging on a late try by the Bath man that was ruled out by the television match official.

    England have not beaten the triple world champions since 2012, when a young team inspired by Manu Tuilagi and Owen Farrell handed out the second biggest defeat in All Blacks' history.

    Underhill said: "It was a big opportunity for us, as is this weekend. But without sounding daft, it was just another game - which I think is key this weekend, treating it as just another game, otherwise we'll get carried away with the occasion.

    "You can't artificially create belief in a group.

    "We've been away for 120 days, with the pre-World Cup camp, the pre-World Cup games.

    "Most of the group have been together for more than that now, so all the accumulated work together, understanding each other, knowing what each other is capable of - that's where that belief comes from.

    "They're a very dangerous attacking side. They obviously like to play rugby in your half, so you want to keep them out of there.

    "Discipline and cheap penalties will be an easy win for them and something you don't want to give them.

    "If we do the things we're good at, and bring the best versions of ourselves, that's all you can really do.

    "We all believe that if we do that there's no reason why we can't win."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50149828


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  65. #145
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    Rugby World Cup semi-final: England v New Zealand
    Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Saturday, 26 October Kick-off: 09:00 BST

    England have recalled George Ford at fly-half for their World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, with captain Owen Farrell shifting to inside centre.

    Coach Eddie Jones dropped Ford to the bench for the quarter-final win over Australia.

    But for England's biggest game in 12 years he has reunited the 10-12 combination that saw England past Tonga, USA and Argentina in the group stages.

    Henry Slade makes way in the backs with Manu Tuilagi moving to outside centre in his place, while winger Jonny May has been declared fit after an injury scare against the Wallabies last weekend.

    New Zealand bring Scott Barrett in at blind-side flanker
    Meet Steve Hansen - the man plotting England's downfall
    The mullet haircut that has become the All Blacks World Cup mascot
    Jones said: "When you get to this stage of a World Cup it is all about focusing on the moment and getting yourself physically right.

    "New Zealand are a great team - they have an impressive winning record since the last World Cup.

    "Like any good team, you have to take time and space away from them and you have to find areas you can pressure them.

    "We believe we have identified a number of areas where we can do that."

    Billy Vunipola wins his 50th cap in the back row as Jones keeps faith with his young flankers in Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, but utility back Jack Nowell has lost his fitness battle after a hamstring injury and once again misses out on a place in the match-day 23.

    Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes stay together in the second row, with George Kruis among the replacements with back row Mark Wilson - in for Lewis Ludlam - and centre Jonathan Joseph.

    England: Daly; Watson, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), May; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Lawes, Curry, Underhill, B Vunipola.

    Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Marler, Cole, Kruis, Wilson, Heinz, Slade, Joseph.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50164953


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  66. #146
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    2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final: Wales v South Africa
    Venue: International Stadium, Yokohama Date: Sun, 27 Oct Kick-off: 09:00 GMT

    Wales full-back Liam Williams has been ruled out of Sunday's World Cup semi-final against South Africa after suffering an ankle injury.

    Scarlets full-back Leigh Halfpenny is in line to replace fellow British and Irish Lion Williams in Yokohama.

    Williams is also unlikely to recover for the following week, whether Wales reach the final or play in the third-place play-off.

    Wales will announce their team at 03:30 BST on Friday.

    Williams, 28, has enjoyed a stunning 2019 having won the European Champions Cup and English Premiership with Saracens and was hoping for an historic hat-trick.

    Wales expect fit centres for semi-final
    South Africa make one change with Kolbe out
    Parkes column: The Prince, the Lane Train and the semi-final
    He has won 62 caps for Wales and three for the Lions, and has been first choice in the 15 shirt in Japan apart from the much-changed Wales side that played pool minnows Uruguay.

    Wales also have injury concerns over centre Jonathan Davies, who suffered a knee injury in the win against Fiji and missed the victories over Uruguay and France.

    Wales' other first-choice centre Hadleigh Parkes has started all five World Cup matches, despite breaking a bone in his hand in the opening match against Georgia and picking up a shoulder problem against Uruguay.

    Wales have already lost Cardiff Blues back-rower Josh Navidi after he damaged a hamstring in the 20-19 quarter-final win against France.

    Navidi was replaced in Wales' 31-man squad this week by Blues wing Owen Lane, with coach Warren Gatland wanting more backline cover

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50171499


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  67. #147
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    England v New Zealand: If stars hit their peak, England will win - Matt Dawson

    England will dethrone defending champions New Zealand in their Rugby World Cup semi-final if their key players deliver, says Matt Dawson.

    New Zealand have won 15 of their past 16 meetings with England and all three of their previous World Cup encounters.

    But former England scrum-half Dawson believes Eddie Jones' side have the ability to upset the odds.

    "England have some world-class players. If that group play to their best, England will win," he told BBC 5 Live.

    "It starts with individual performance. The front row, Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell are world class. Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Manu Tuilagi and Elliot Daly must step up to that level. Tom Curry and Sam Underhill have got to obliterate the opposition.

    "And then England have got to assume that they make no mistakes at the weekend - no offsides, no penalties, nothing. They have got to play the perfect game."

    New Zealand have been in ominous form so far in the tournament, beating southern hemisphere rivals South Africa in the pool stages, before a comprehensive 46-14 victory over Ireland in the last eight racked up their 18th successive Rugby World Cup win - a run dating back to start of the 2011 edition.

    In Japan, New Zealand have averaged more points (51), tries (7.3), metres made (642), clean breaks (22), defenders beaten (39) and offloads (17) per match than any other team,

    But Dawson believes Jones' decision to pick two playmakers in his backline, with George Ford at fly-half and Farrell at inside centre, aims to unpick the All Blacks defence.

    After defeat in the first Test against New Zealand in 2017, the British and Irish Lions similarly paired Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton with Farrell in midfield and managed to draw the three-match series.

    "Jones wants to play fast and furious with lots of phases," added Dawson. "He sees how New Zealand reorganise as a weakness.

    "I was surprised that George Ford was recalled. I have the tiniest of concern about him playing under the most enormous pressure. He sometimes hasn't been able to replicate his club and international form. We'll find out. Eddie doesn't see it like that."

    Jones' New Zealand counterpart Steve Hansen also made a surprise selection, opting to give Scott Barrett, usually a second row, his first international start as a flanker, dropping Sam Cane to the bench.

    Barrett's inclusion gives New Zealand a wealth of line-out options, with second rows Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock and number eight Kieran Read also in the line-up.

    England slipped to a 16-15 defeat against New Zealand at Twickenham in November as that area of their game stuttered, losing five of their 15 line-outs.

    But Dawson believes that it could also be an attempt to beef up his pack more generally.

    "You wonder why Hansen would change a winning team. But he and Jones are paid the money to coach a side and make those big calls. Scott Barrett's inclusion is specifically for how New Zealand want to play. It gives them a bit more bulk.

    "Perhaps Hansen feels England have the edge in the set-piece and wanted a bit more bulk.

    "It's a huge weekend for all sports fans. It's where it all gets ramped up. The pressure-cooker environment of international rugby. For England, it doesn't get any bigger than playing New Zealand for a place in the World Cup final - it's the stuff of dreams."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/50179765

  68. #148
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    Semi finals day tomorrow!

    England v New Zealand Saturday, 26 October, 09:00 BST;

    Wales v South Africa Sunday, 27 October, 09:00 GMT


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  69. #149
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    Fancy an All Blacks v South Africa final.



  70. #150
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    England v New Zealand (09:00 BST) - all to play for!


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  71. #151
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    Kiwi anthem is a bit long-winded.

    Nice to see England in a phalanx to accept the Haka challenge.

  72. #152
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    Try within two minutes!

  73. #153
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    Great start by England.

    New Zealand been a bit sloppy so far.



  74. #154
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    10-0 England at half time.

  75. #155
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    Tactically spot on from England.

    Totally upset the gameplan of NZ so far.



  76. #156
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    Wow looks like NZ are heading home. Well played England.

  77. #157
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    Edit: oh England try ruled out, NZ still in the game then.

  78. #158
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    Last quarter. 16-7 England.

    Swing low....

  79. #159
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    As I had thought before the tournament began, the relatively weak forward pack of New Zealand has come back to haunt them.

  80. #160
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    Nine minutes.

    19-7.


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