The Latest: Japan gets bonus-point win vs Samoa at World Cup
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 16 of the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
Japan is a step closer to Rugby World Cup history after overcoming a fierce Samoa challenge 38-19 and claiming a bonus point four minutes into additional time in a nerve-shredder for a third straight win in Pool A.
The hosts now have Scotland between them and a first place in the quarterfinals for an Asian team. That would set off a party of epic proportions in Japan.
Japan scored tries in Toyota through center Timothy Lafaele, No. 8 Kazuki Himeno and by replacement Kenki Fukuoka, the star in the stunning win over Ireland. His try sealed victory.
But star winger Kotaro Matsushima’s bonus-point score in the last play of the game could be the most crucial in the final reckoning.
Samoa tested Japan’s nerve and commitment at every stage and Japan met the challenge at a raucous City of Toyota Stadium with an immense effort.
Japan made Samoa pay for a yellow card to flanker TJ Ioane when Lafaele scored near the left corner in the first half. Himeno grounded in a Japanese rolling maul early in the second.
Samoa set up a thrilling finish when center Henry Taefu spun out of a tackle and went over after a period of Samoan pressure. He converted for 26-19 with seven minutes to go.
Japan responded by turning over possession from the restart, surging to within a meter, and then sending Fukuoka in from an overlap way out on the right corner for the game-clincher. Matsushima’s try might be the quarterfinal-clincher.
Japan leads Samoa 16-9 at halftime and is narrowing in on a third straight win in Pool A.
Japan center Timothy Lafaele scored the only try of the half after the host team capitalized on a yellow card to Samoa flanker TJ Ioane.
Ioane went to the sin-bin for a no-arms shoulder charge on Japan winger Kotaro Matsushima. Japan scored a couple of minutes later, with returning flanker Michael Leitch winning a crucial turnover, Matsushima making the key break to within one meter, and Lafaele finishing wide on the left.
Lafaele was born in Samoa.
The Samoans are worrying Japan but continue to hurt themselves with yellow cards. It’s the fifth yellow Samoa has received in 2 ½ games at the Rugby World Cup. Winger Ed Fidow got two of them against Scotland last game to be sent off. Japan’s other points at City of Toyota Stadium have come from three penalties by flyhalf Yu Tamura.
Samoa center Henry Taefu has also landed three penalties.
Japan is in action for the first time since that upset over Ireland.
Chasing Rugby World Cup history as the first Asian team to make the quarterfinals, the host team faces Samoa in Toyota in its third Pool A game.
Japan has two wins from two. A third victory won’t quite seal it for the Brave Blossoms but will put them on the verge of the quarters.
Japan has squad captain Michael Leitch back in its lineup against Samoa, although the other flanker, Pieter Labuschagne, retains the captaincy for the game.
A raucous City of Toyota Stadium fell silent for the start of Samoa’s pre-game Siva Tau war dance.
Samoa is playing for plenty of pride, and to stay in the World Cup, after losing 34-0 to Scotland last outing.
Four years after being humiliated at its home Rugby World Cup, England was first into the quarterfinals in Japan on Saturday after beating 14-man Argentina 39-10.England and old rival France will meet next weekend to decide the winner of Pool C.
Argentina will be home by then. The Pumas’ earliest exit from a Rugby World Cup in 16 years will likely become official on Sunday should France beat Tonga in Kumamoto as expected.
England failed to get out of the pool stage in 2015, the first tournament host to miss out, and its victory on Saturday was eased in Tokyo Stadium when Argentina lock Tomas Lavanini was sent off in the 18th minute.
In a week in which three others have been red-carded for dangerous tackles, Lavanini inexplicably led with his left shoulder into the neck of England flyhalf Owen Farrell. Lavanini became the second Puma to be sent off in the Rugby World Cup after Pedro Sporleder in 1991.
England was leading 14-man Argentina 15-3 at halftime at Tokyo Stadium and set to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Argentina, needing a win to stay in the quarterfinals hunt, went down a man from the 18th minute when lock Tomas Lavanini was red-carded for a shoulder-led tackle into the neck of England center Owen Farrell.
To that point, the Pool C match was on edge, including a midfield fight after Farrell was late-tackled by Argentina captain Pablo Matera.
The red card took the tension out of the match, with England up 5-3 at the time, a Jonny May try trumping a Benjamin Urdapilleta penalty.
Despite the man advantage, England didn’t score until the 36th through fullback Elliot Daly, and scrumhalf Ben Youngs went over in injury time after 20 phases of attack.
Farrell missed converting all three tries and a penalty.
Argentina was reduced to 14 men from the 18th minute against England after lock Tomas Lavanini was sent off for a dangerous high tackle on England center Owen Farrell.
Lavanini went in left shoulder first and hit Farrell in the neck, and referee Nigel Owens sent him off.
Lavanini is the fifth red card of this tournament, making it the worst for red cards in tournament history.
England led 5-3 at the time.
Only two minutes later, Argentina fans were whistling when England center Manu Tuilagi tackled Emiliano Boffelli while the Argentina fullback was in the air. But Owens only penalized Tuilagi because he said Boffelli had a foot on the ground.
The Springboks say winger Cheslin Kolbe is fine after x-rays on a twisted left ankle.
Kolbe was walking normally on Saturday after the x-rays showed no serious damage. He was hurt in the final minutes of the 49-3 Pool B win over Italy in Shizuoka on Friday night and was taken off as a precaution.
Kolbe has been an inspiration for the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup. He was South Africa’s best player in the loss to New Zealand and scored two tries against Italy to help put the Boks back on course for the quarterfinals.
Coach Rassie Erasmus says Kolbe could play “at a push” in their last pool game against Canada on Tuesday but it’s unlikely he’ll be risked for the game.
Fellow winger Makazole Mapimpi had nine stitches in a cut on his forehead from the Italy game but he’s also clear to play.
Tevita Kuridrani and Dane Haylett-Petty crossed for two tries each as Australia beat Uruguay 45-10 in a Pool D game that did little to enhance confidence in the Wallabies’ title credentials.
The Australians led 19-3 at halftime despite twice being a man down with players yellow-carded for high tackles.
Expected to win comfortably, the Wallabies handicapped themselves with some lazy tackling techniques against a highly committed if over-matched Uruguay lineup, some poor tactical and scrum options playing for 20 of the first 40 minutes with 14 players.
Tries to wingers Haylett-Petty in the sixth minute and 19-year-old Jordan Petaia, who scored with his second touch in test rugby, in the 24th gave Australia a 14-3 lead.
Australia lock Adam Coleman was yellow-carded for a high tackle on fullback Rodrigo Silva in the 14th, and blindside flanker Lukhan Salakaia-Loto got 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a high shot in the 29th.
Despite the numeric disadvantage, center Kuridrani scored Australia’s third try in the 31st after Michael Hooper turned over the Uruguay ball.
Four more tries in the second half — including a first in 94 tests for prop James Slipper — and a bit more discipline allowed the Wallabies to run away with the result.
Australia made slow starts in its opening win over Fiji and its 29-25 loss to Six Nations champion Wales, and again needed a halftime break to instill some composure despite never being behind on the scoreboard.
After 18 phases of play No. 8 Manuel Diana touched down on the line to score Uruguay’s first try.
Australia leads Uruguay 19-3 at halftime despite twice being a man down with players yellow-carded for high tackles in the Pool D game at Oita.
Australia was expected to win comfortably but was handicapping itself with some lazy tackling technique against a highly committed if over-matched Uruguay lineup.
The two-time champion Wallabies led 14-3 after tries to wingers Dane Haylett-Petty in the sixth minute and 19-year-old Jordan Petaia, who scored with his second touch in test rugby, in the 24th.
Flyhalf Felipe Berchesi slotted Uruguay’s only points, converting a penalty for a high tackle after his team was unable to capitalize on a lineout and a scrum from close range in the 12th.
Australia lock Adam Coleman was yellow-carded for a high tackle on fullback Rodrigo Silva in the 14th and again was a man down when blindside flanker Lukhan Salakaia-Loto got 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a high shot.
Despite the numeric disadvantage, center Tevita Kuridrani scored Australia’s third try in the 31st to make the score 19-3.
The Uruguayans appeared to cross for try via center Tomas Inciarte after a ruck turnover just before halftime, but the Television Match Official intervened to disallow it because No. 8 Manuel Diana was never onside before be pilfered the ball at the back of the ruck.
James O’Connor has been ruled out of Australia’s Rugby World Cup game against Uruguay and will be replaced on the reserves bench by vice-captain Samu Kerevi.
Utility back O’Connor was initially included on the bench and was expected to play a minor role in the game at Oita, but he corked a muscle at practice and was ruled out as a precaution.
Kerevi, who was set to be rested for the Pool D game after playing a big role in Australia’s win over Fiji and narrow loss to Wales, was drafted into the 23-man matchday squad.
Rugby Australia says two other changes are merely cosmetic. Because of what it described as a “embroidery mishap” backrowers Jack Dempsey and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto will swap jersey numbers.
Dempsey, selected to play at No. 8, will wear the No. 6 jersey. Salakaia-Loto will play on the blindside flank but will wear the No. 8 jersey.
England takes on Argentina in a pivotal Pool C game as Rugby World Cup action ramps up again with three games on Saturday.
Eddie Jones’ England squad can secure a quarterfinals spot with another win. Argentina would be all but out of contention with another loss after losing 23-21 to France in its opening game.
England missed out on the quarterfinals in 2015, becoming the first Rugby World Cup tournament host nation to fail to get out of the group stage.
Japan needs a win over Samoa at City of Toyota Stadium to secure a Rugby World Cup quarterfinals spot for the first time
In the opening game on Day 16, two-time champion Australia takes on Uruguay at Oita.