Rugby World Cup Match Hub: Japan, Italy, England, Wales hold top pool spots

Rugby World Cup
by RUGBY.com.au staff

Week two of the Rugby World Cup has brought plenty of surprises and plenty of talking points.

Japan and Uruguay surprised some critics with two major upsets and England and Wales 

For all the round one match info, click here.

STANDINGS

With the second week of matches all wrapped up, here is how things stand in each pool.

Pool A

1.  Japan – 9 pts – played 2, 2W, 1 BP

2. Ireland – 6 pts – played 2, 1W, 1L, 1 BP

3. Samoa – 5 pts – played 1, 1 W, 1BP

4. Scotland – 0 pts – played 1, 0W, 0 BP

5. Russia  0 pts – played 1, 0W, 0 BP

Pool B

1. Italy – 10 pts – played 2, 2W, 2BP

2. South Africa – 5 pts – played 2, 1W, 1BP

3.New Zealand – 4 pts – played 1, 1W

4. Canada – 0 pts – played 1, 0W

5. Namibia – 0 pts – played 2, 0W

Pool C

1. England – 10 pts – Played 2, 2W, 2BP

2. Argentina – 6 pts – Played 2, 1W, 1L, 2BP

3. France – 4 pts – Played 1, 1W

4. USA – 0 pts – played 1, 1L

5. Tonga – 0 pts – played 2, 2L

Pool D

1. Wales – 9 pts – played 2, 2W, 1BP

2. Australia – 6 pts – played 2, 1W, 1L, 2BP

3. Georgia – 5 pts – played 2, 1W, 1L, 1BP

4. Uruguay – 4 pts – played 2, 1W, 1L

5. Fiji – 2pts – played 2, 2L, 2BP

For more details, click here.

WRAP

AUSTRALIA vs WALES

Wales have taken the lead in Pool D after a 29-15 win over the Wallabies.

Read more here.

GEORGIA vs URUGUAY

Georgia overpowered Uruguay at the Rugby World Cup for a 33-7 bonus-point win on Sunday, the popular South American underdogs unable to repeat their heroics against Fiji four days earlier.

A dominant forward display laid the foundation for an impressive victory by Georgia, who will now target an upset against Australia on October 11 as their path to a shock quarter-final place from Pool D.

Uruguay had rocked the tournament with its first shock result, beating highly talented Fiji by 30-27 in a pulsating match in Kamaishi on Wednesday.

Georgia coach Milton Haig had targeted Sunday's clash as a "must-win" game and made 12 changes from the side that lost 43-14 to Wales.

And it was his side -- ranked six places above Uruguay -- that started the brighter, a sustained spell of forward dominance at the scrum leaving space out wide for winger Alexander Todua to score in the left corner.

Both sides struggled to impose themselves early in energy-sapping humidity in Kumagaya, which saw the first water breaks at this year's Rugby World Cup.

Georgia's next score came on the half-hour mark. The forwards shoved Uruguay back with another powerful scrum, leaving number eight Otari Giorgadze to pick up at the base and dive over.

Uruguay hit back against the run of play, a clever inside ball slicing up the Georgian defence and leaving inside centre Andres Vilaseca a free run in under the posts.

Esteban Meneses' men could have reduced their arrears further but Felipe Berchesi pushed a penalty attempt wide and the teams turned with Georgia leading 12-7.

Georgia extended their advantage only minutes after half-time, with Uruguay again unable to resist pressure from the heavy forwards and letting prop Levan Chilachava force his way over for a try brilliantly converted from the touchline.

A catch-and-drive from a line-out finished off by Giorgadze secured the bonus-point for Georgia as Uruguay found no answer to the heavier pack.

Uruguay were wilting in the heat and humidity, and a tired error on their own line let outside centre Giorgi Kveseladze in for an easy try to put the result well beyond doubt.

And with only three minutes left on the clock, Uruguayan replacement Facundo Gattas saw a red card for a high shoulder charge to the head, the tournament's second on-pitch dismissal.

RESULT

Georgia 33

Tries: Tiodua, Giorgadze, Chilachava, Bregvadze, Kveseladze

Cons: Abzhandadze 4

Uruguay 7

Tries: Vilaseca

Cons: Berchesi

SOUTH AFRICA vs NAMIBIA

Two-time champions South Africa recorded one of their biggest Rugby World Cup wins on Saturday when they routed a porous Namibia 57-3 to move towards the quarter-finals.

Five tries in the first half and another four in the second swept Namibia aside as the Springboks briefly threatened to eclipse the 87-0 win, the heaviest they have recorded at World Cups, over the Welwitschias in 2011.

After Japan's sensational 19-12 victory over Ireland earlier on Saturday, any hopes of another upset were quickly snuffed out at a packed City of Toyota Stadium as South Africa attacked relentlessly from the outset.

The Springboks next face Italy in a match that will go a long way to deciding who qualifies from Pool B, which also contains defending champions New Zealand.

"We will build from this and now we've got this big Italy game which probably will determine if we go through to the quarter-finals or not," said Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus.

"And I think this game will give us a nice springboard to go into that game."

Namibia kept South Africa scoreless for just nine minutes at the start of the game before three catch-and-drive tries in the space of seven minutes put the outcome beyond doubt.

RESULT

South Africa 57

Tries: Mbonambi 2, Mapimpi 2, Louw, Am Gelant, Kolisi, Brits

Cons: Jantjies 6

Namibia 3

Pens: Loubser

JAPAN vs IRELAND

Japan have shocked the rugby world again with a 19-12 win over Ireland in their Rugby World Cup pool match.

Read more here.

ARGENTINA vs TONGA

Argentina hooker Julian Montoya scored a rapid first-half hat-trick as the Pumas beat Tonga 28-12 on Saturday to revive their bid for a Rugby World Cup quarter-final place.

Montoya's treble at the Hanazono Stadium equalled Argentina's record for the most tries in a single World Cup match set by centre Martin Gaitan, now a member of their coaching staff, in a 67-14 rout of Namibia at Gosford, Australia in 2003.

It also meant that, with six in total at the global showpiece, Montoya has scored more World Cup tries than any other hooker.

Argentina had a four-try bonus-point as early as the 26th minute and the Pumas led 28-7 at half-time.

In a 'group of death' also featuring in-form England -- their next opponents in Tokyo on October 5 -- Argentina badly needed a bonus-point victory from this match to maintain their hopes of reaching the knockout phase following an agonising opening 23-21 loss to France.

Tonga too were looking to bounce back after a 35-3 defeat by England.

But it was 2007 and 2015 semi-finalists Argentina who opened the scoring with a seventh-minute try straight off the training ground.

They declined an easy penalty and kicked for a line-out close to Tonga's line.

After Montoya threw the ball in, Argentina won possession and lock Guido Petti quickly passed the ball back to the hooker on the blindside for a well-worked score.

Flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta, preferred to Nicolas Sanchez, then made light of a difficult conversion from 45 metres out on the right.

Argentina's second try in the 17th minute was a similar story, although this time Montoya went over from a conventional line-out catch and drive.

RESULT

Argentina 28

Tries: Montoya 3, Carreras

Cons: Urdapilleta 4

Tonga 12

Tries: Veainu 2

Cons: Takulua

ENGLAND vs USA

England made it two wins from two at the Rugby World Cup as they scored seven tries during a 45-7 rout of the United States in Kobe on Thursday that saw the Eagles receive the first red card of the tournament.

First-half tries from stand-in captain George Ford, Billy Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie gave England a 19-0 lead at the break before Joe Cokanasiga secured the bonus point early in the second half.

Ruaridh McConnochie and Lewis Ludlam then scored their maiden Test tries before Eagles flanker John Quill was sent off 10 minutes from time for an illegal shoulder charge on replacement back Owen Farrell.

There was still time for Cokanasiga to grab his second try and England's seventh before Bryce Campbell ensured the USA avoided the embarrassment of being 'nilled' with a try after 80 minutes were up.

"Good win again. We had to work for it again. USA very physical, passionate team, so we had to earn that win. I thought we did that pretty well," said Ford.

England, the 2003 world champions, made 10 changes to the side that beat Tonga 35-3 in their Pool C opener in Sapporo last weekend for what was the USA's first match of this tournament.

RESULT

England 45

Tries: Cokanasiga 2, Ford, Vunipola, Cowan-Dickie, Ludlam,

Cons: Ford 5

USA 7

Tries: Campbell

Cons: MacGinty 

ITALY vs CANADA

Italy ran amok against Canada to bag their second bonus-point win in as many games with a 48-7 Rugby World Cup victory Thursday and vowed to celebrate with an "old-school night".

It was not a perfect performance as Italy slipped at times from flair and finesse to sloppy, but they did enough to dominate seven tries to one in what was their biggest margin of victory at the World Cup.

With Italy seeking a first World Cup quarter-final berth, their maximum points from two matches sent a message to heavyweights South Africa not to underestimate them.

The Springboks, who lost their opener against New Zealand, paid a high price when they were guilty of taking Japan lightly at the last World Cup and cannot afford to do the same again when they meet Italy in Shizuoka in eight days.

"We've earned a few drinks tonight probably," said Italian captain Dean Budd.

Coach Conor O'Shea revealed he had promised his team an "old-school night" after only a four-day turnaround between games, which he said was "tough for any team, mentally as well as physically".

"You have to be pretty happy. I thought we started the game really well and that's where we imposed ourselves," said O'Shea.

Italy, still with the All Blacks to play as well as South Africa, showed their depth by making 10 changes to the starting XV when they beat Namibia and were still too strong for the Canadians.

A day after Uruguay's shock win over Fiji, Canada started with hopes of achieving a similar upset.

The mostly neutral crowd in Fukuoka also gave their support to the Canadians in the 22,000-seat stadium, but it was the vastly rearranged Italian side with the superior forward pack who controlled most of the game.

RESULT

Italy 48

Tries: Styen, Budd, Negri, Penalty, Bellini, Zani, Minozzi

Cons: Allan 3, Canna

Pens: Allan

Canada 7

Tries: Coe

Cons: Nelson

FIJI vs URUGUAY

Minnows Uruguay pulled off the greatest upset in their history on Wednesday as they stunned Fiji 30-27 to leave the Pacific islanders staring at an early exit from the Rugby World Cup.

John McKee's Fiji had showcased their traditional running flair in a thrilling first 60 minutes against Australia, when they led the much-fancied Wallabies. But they ran out of steam in an error-strewn performance against Uruguay four days later.

The brave Uruguay XV were magnificent in a pulsating game at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, running in three tries and clinging on desperately towards the end as Fiji threw everything at their lowly opponents.

It was the biggest rugby win in the history of Uruguay, who had only ever won two games at the World Cup and are ranked nine places below the Fijians, whom they had never beaten.

Asked if Fiji could still reach the quarter-finals, McKee admitted: "It is going to be challenging for us. We are relying a lot on other points now." He said he was targeting a bonus-point win against Georgia next Sunday before facing Six Nations champions Wales.

The New Zealander refused to blame the short turnaround for the defeat against the fresher South Americans, who were playing their first match. But he acknowledged the difficulty of taking the field again so soon after the bruising game against the Wallabies.

"For us, obviously with the short turnaround, though it isn't an excuse, it is a challenge," said McKee, who said his team's dismal goalkicking had cost them dearly.

Uruguay's captain Juan Gaminara broke down in tears at the end of the game, saying: "We are not the biggest, we are not the tallest but we came here to win."

"Since we qualified, we have been thinking about this game and you saw the passion. I'm really proud," added Gaminara, whose squad contains several players with semi-professional status.

Despite giving away nearly 10 kilos a man in the pack, Uruguay competed up front and harried the Fijians out wide, rushing them into a litany of handling errors.

They took a deserved 24-12 lead into half-time and benefited from some extraordinary misses from the tee by Josh Matavesi, including some that seemed a formality.

Fiji had taken a shock lead of their own into the second half of their defeat by Australia, but this time they were the team needing a dramatic comeback.

They threw their heavy runners at a stout Uruguay defence but basic handling errors continued to thwart the Pacific islanders as the play broke up to resemble more of a game of sevens -- a code at which Fiji are Olympic champions.

In the end, the final score flattered Fiji, as they scored a last-minute try that was too little too late to prevent wild Uruguay celebrations.

Fiji captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu said: "Everything went wrong today. It's not the result we wanted. It's not how we wanted the game to go today. We underestimated a very good Uruguay team."

McKee, who changed 12 players from the team that started against Australia, said Fiji had talked specifically about not taking Uruguay lightly.

"We tried to take the same mindset into the game as we took into the Australia game," he said.

"This is the sport that we play and you cannot predict the outcome. And great credit goes to Uruguay for how they worked in the game and for each other and to get what is quite a historic result." 

RESULT

Fiji 27

Tries: Matawalu 2, Dolokoto, Mawi, Ratuniyarawa

Cons: Matavesi

Uruguay 30

Tries: Arata, Diana, Manuel Cat

Cons: Berchesi 3

Pens: Berchesi 3

RUSSIA vs SAMOA

Marauding winger Ed Fidow bagged a quickfire double as Samoa beat Russia 34-9 in a bruising Rugby World Cup encounter on Tuesday.

Fidow provided the spark in a tempestuous Pool A clash after the Pacific islanders were reduced to 13 men in the first half for two reckless tackles in steamy Kumagaya.

"To lose two players, go down to 13 men and we didn't lose on the score, (I'm) really proud of the effort," said Samoa coach Steve Jackson.

"We knew we would come out after half-time and the boys were still fresh. I'm just glad we got over the line."

Russia coach Lyn Jones bemoaned his team's short, four-day turnaround after his team lost 30-10 to Japan in the tournament-opener on Saturday.

"It's very disappointing. The performance wasn't what we expected. However, the short turnaround has affected us tactically and mentally," said the Welshman.

"I thought we could play the same tactics as Japan but it wasn't going to be tonight. We needed more time to prepare. It's not the physical deterioration, it was the mental. We just weren't there tonight."

Samoa, World Cup quarter-finalists in 1991 and 1995, began the game pumped up after a passionate performance of their 'siva tau' war dance.

And they went ahead after 15 minutes when a superb pass from Tim Nanai-Williams -- cousin of All Black star Sonny Bill -- found Alapati Leiua to crash over for the first of his brace.

But Russia flyhalf Yury Kushnarev, making a record-extending 111th appearance for the Bears, kicked a pair of penalties to give the Bears a 6-5 half-time lead which should have been more after Samoa played almost 10 minutes with 13 men.

Centre Rey Lee-Lo was lucky to escape with a yellow card for a high tackle on Russia captain Vasily Artemyev before hooker Motu Matu'u followed him to the sin bin after another dangerous challenge on Artemyev.

But Russia let Samoa off the hook as they failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage.

Pisi, who at 37 became the oldest player to represent Samoa at a World Cup, had a kicking game to forget, missing four of six attempts with the boot.

However Samoa, playing their first game of the tournament, ultimately had too much firepower for the Russians, who were blowing hard after their short recovery time.

RESULT

Samoa 34

Tries: Leua 2, Fidow 2, Amosa, Lee-Lo

Cons: Pisi 2

Russia 9

Pens: Kushnarev 2

Drops: Kushnarev

TEAMS

RUSSIA vs SAMOA

Samoa coach Steve Jackson has selected eight Rugby World Cup debutants for his side's first game of the tournament against Russia on Tuesday.

The New Zealander on Sunday called up 10 of the starting line-up from their final warm-up game, a 34-15 defeat by Argentina, for the Pool A clash in Kumagaya, north of Tokyo.

Logovii Mulipola, Motu Matuu, captain Chris Vui, Dwayne Polataivao, and Ah See Tuala are those who come in for the Pacific islanders, who reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 1991 and 1995.

Jackson's opposite number Lyn Jones has named an unchanged side to the one beaten 30-10 by hosts Japan in the tournament curtain raiser last Friday with flyhalf Yury Kushnarev poised to win a record-extending 111th cap.

Kushnarev, one of Russia's standout players against the Japanese, starts alongside captain Vasily Artemyev as the Bears look to bounce back against the hard-hitting Samoans.

Artemyev, who has scored a record 29 test tries for his country, will demand greater support from his team mates against Samoa, particularly in defence after the Russians ran out of steam against the Brave Blossoms.

Meanwhile, at 37, mercurial flyhalf Tusi Pisi is set to become the oldest player to represent Samoa at the World Cup in a country he knows well after spells in Japan, notably with the Tokyo-based Sunwolves in Super Rugby.

Tim Nanai-Williams, cousin of All Blacks superstar Sonny Bill, plays full-back for the Samoans, who are ranked four places higher than Russia at 16 and will expect to get off to a winning start.

Russia to face Samoa

Valery Morozov, Stanislav Selskii, Kirill Gotovtsev, Andrey Ostrikov, Bogdan Fedotko, Vitaly Zhivatov, Tagir Gadzhiev, Nikita Vavilin, Vasily Dorofeev, Yury Kushnarev, Kirill Golosnitskiy, Dmitry Gerasimov, Vladimir Ostroushko, German Davydov, Vasily Artemyev (capt.). Reserves: Evgeny Matveev, Andrei Polivalov, Azamat Bitiev, Andrey Garbuzov, Anton Sychev, Dmitry Perov, Ramil Gaisin, Vladislav Sozonov

Samoa to face Russia

Logovii Mulipola, Motu Matu'u, Michael Alaalatoa, Teofilo Paulo, Kane Le'aupepe, Chris Vui (capt.), TJ Ioane, Afaesetiti Amosa, Dwayne Polataivao, Tusi Pisi, Ed Fidow, Rey Lee-Lo, Alapati Leiua, Ah See Tuala, Tim Nanai-Williams. Reserves: Ray Niuia, Paul Alo-Emile, Jordan Lay, Senio Toleafoa, Josh Tyrell, Melani Matavao, AJ Alatimu, Henry Taefu

FIJI vs URUGUAY

Fiji unveiled mass changes for their Rugby World Cup Pool D game against Uruguay on Monday, with only three players surviving from their opening clash with Australia.

Captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu, loose forward Leone Nakarawa and centre Semi Radrada will be the only remaining starters from the Australia game for Wednesday's match.

There was no place in the matchday squad for flanker Peceli Yato, who left the field with concussion during Fiji's 39-21 defeat to Australia on Saturday.

Josh Matavesi was named at flyhalf with his brother Samuel on the bench, while Mesulame Dolokoto, Jale Vatubua, and Filipo Nakosi will make their World Cup debuts.

Fiji to face Uruguay

Eroni Mawi, Mesulame Dolokoto,Manasa Saulo, Tevita Ratuva, Api Ratuniyarawa, Dominiko Waqaniburotu (capt.), Mosese Voka, Leone Nakarawa, Henry Seniloli, Josh Matavesi, Vereniki Goneva, Jale Vatubua, Semi Radradra, Filipo Nakosi, Alivereti Veitokani. Reserves: Tuvere Vugakoto, Campese Ma'afu, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Tevita Cavubati, Samuel Matavesi, Nikola Matawalu, Ben Volavola, Levani Botia

Uruguay to face Fiji

Mateo Sanguinetti, German Kessler, Diego Arbelo, Ignacio Dotti, Manuel Leindekar, Juan Manuel Gaminara (capt.), Santiago Civetta, Manuel Diana, Santiago Arata, Felipe Berchesi, Rodrigo Silva, Andres Vilaseca, Juan Manuel Cat, Nicolas Freitas, Gaston Mieres. Reserves: Guillermo Pujadas, Facundo Gattas, Juan Pedro Rombys, Franco Lamanna, Juan Diego Ormaechea, Agustin Ormaechea, Felipe Etcheverry, Tomas Inciarte

ITALY vs CANADA

Italy to face Canada

Andrea Lovotti, Luca Bigi, Simone Ferrari, David Sisi, Dean Budd (capt.), Sebastian Negri, Jake Polledri, Braam Steyn, Callum Braley, Tommaso Allan, Giulio Bisegni, Jayden Hayward, Michele Campagnaro, Tommaso Benvenuti, Matteo Minozzi. Reserves: Federico Zani, Nicola Quaglio, Marco Riccioni, Federico Ruzza, Maxime Mbandà, Guglielmo Palazzani, Carlo Canna, Mattia Bellini 

Canada to face Italy

Hubert Buydens, Eric Howard, Matt Tierney, Conor Keys, Josh Larsen, Michael Sheppard, Lucas Rumball, Tyler Ardron (capt.), Gordon McRorie, Peter Nelson, DTH Van Der Merwe, Nick Blevins, Ben Lesage, Jeff Hassler, Patrick Parfrey. Reserves: Benoit Piffero, Djustice Duru-Sears, Jake Ilnicki, Luke Campbell, Matt Heaton, Jamie Mackenzie, Ciaran Hearn, Andrew Coe 

ENGLAND vs USA

England coach Eddie Jones has opted to rest Manu Tuilagi for Thursday's World Cup match against the United States in one of 10 changes to the line-up that beat Tonga 35-3 in their Pool C opener in Sapporo.

Skipper Owen Farrell has been dropped to the bench with only fullback Elliot Daly, five-eighth George Ford, No.8 Billy Vunipola, flanker Tom Curry and prop Joe Marler retaining their places in the run on side.

Dan Cole, Luke Cowan Dickie and Marler make up the front row with Joe Launchbury and George Kruis playing in an all-new second row.

Willi Heinz gets the nod at halfback while Piers Francis and Jonathan Joseph will form the midfield.

Joe Cokanasiga, who has been struggling with a knee injury, and Ruaridh McConnochie will play on the wings.

"It is our best 23 and we have looked at some players that would benefit not playing in this game so have kept them out of the 23," said Jones.

"But it is a great opportunity for another set of players to do the team proud."

With the United States playing their first game of the tournament while England have a four-day turnaround, Jones was expecting a physical test.

"USA are a tough, physical team who are extremely well coached by Gary Gold," he added.

"They have prepared two weeks with the marines for this game so they will be fit, tough and be playing for the pride of their country."

England to face USA

Joe Marler, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Tom Curry, Lewis Ludlam, Billy Vunipola, Willi Heinz, George Ford (capt.), Joe Cokanasiga, Piers Francis, Jonathan Joseph, Ruaridh McConnochie, Elliot Daly. Reserves: Jack Singleton, Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Anthony Watson

USA to face England

David Ainuu, Joe Taufete’e, Titi Lamositele, Ben Landry, Nick Civetta, Tony Lamborn, John Quill, Cam Dolan, Shaun Davies, AJ MacGinty, Martin Iosefo, Paul Lasike, Marcel Brache, Blaine Scully (capt.), Will Hooley. Reserves: Dylan Fawsitt, Olive Kilifi, Paul Mullen, Greg Peterson, Hanco Germishuys, Ruben de Haas, Bryce Campbell, Mike Te’o

ARGENTINA vs TONGA

Argentina have made four changes to the starting XV that lost against France on Saturday, 21 September.

Julian Montoya, Tomas Lezana, Benjamin Urdapilleta and Santiago Carreras all come into the starting XV, while Nicolas Sanchez, Javier Ortega Desio and Agustin Creevy drop to the bench.

Ramiro Moyano does not return to the matchday 23.

Out of the 23 once again is Juan Manuel Leguizamon, who needs just one more Test appearance to equal Felipe Contepomi's Pumas record of 87.

Benjamin Urdapilleta, who did not play for Los Pumas at all between 2013 and 2019, makes his first test start since 8 June, 2013.

Argentina to face Tonga

Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya, Juan Figallo, Guido Petti, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera (capt.), Marcos Kremer, Tomas Lezana, Tomas Cubelli, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Santiago Carreras, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Matias Orlando, Matías Moroni, Emiliano Boffelli. Reserves: Agustín Creevy, Mayco Vivas ,Santiago Medrano, Matias Alemanno, Javier Ortega Desio, Felipe Ezcurra, Nicolas Sanchez, Bautista Delguy

Tonga to face Argentina

Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Paula Ngauamo, Ben Tameifuna, Sam Lousi, Halaleva Fifita, Sione Kalamafoni, Zane Kapeli, Maama Vaipulu, Sonatane Takulua, James Faiva, David Halaifonua, Siale Piutau (capt.), Malietoa Hingano, Viliami Lolohea, Telusa Veainu. Reserves: Sosefo Sakalia, Vunipola Fifita, Ma'afu Fia, Sitiveni Mafi, Nasi Manu, Leon Fukofuka, Latiume Fosita, Cooper Vuna

JAPAN vs IRELAND

Ireland have decided not to risk talismanic fly-half Johnny Sexton for this weekend's Rugby World Cup Pool A clash against hosts Japan after he picked up a niggle against Scotland.

Coach Joe Schmidt has stuck with 11 of the side who crushed their Celtic rivals 27-3 in their opening game, but confirmed Thursday that Sexton would be rested to give the World Player of the Year time to fully recover from a thigh strain.

Johnny is never happy about being left out," said Schmidt, who has tapped Jack Carty to take over the playmaking duties against Japan in Shizuoka on Saturday.

"(Sexton) got a little mileage against Scotland and we thought about bringing him off the bench, but it's a case of being confident in the squad,"

he added.

"He keeps himself in good condition and he's a guy who can come back and hit the ground running."

Ireland skills coach Richie Murphy added: "When you get a bang in the quad as a kicker it can affect your kicking, so we're obviously not going to risk him in that part of the game."

Schmidt, who hinted that Sexton could return against Russia next week, predicted that Carty would rise to the occasion in only his second Test start.

"He's very calm and doesn't get ruffled easily," said the New Zealander.

"He doesn't get distracted by an error he might make or distracted by people trying to put pressure on him. He stays in the zone incredibly well, so that gives us a lot of confidence."

Japan to face Ireland

Siegfried Fisi’ihoi,Paula Ngauamo, Ben Tameifuna, Sam Lousi, Halaleva Fifita, Sione Kalamafoni, Zane Kapeli, Maama Vaipulu, Sonatane Takulua, James Faiva, David Halaifonua, Siale Piutau (capt.), Malietoa Hingano, Viliami Lolohea, Telusa Veainu. Reserves: Sosefo Sakalia, Vunipola Fifita, Ma'afu Fia, Sitiveni Mafi, Nasi Manu, Leon Fukofuka , Latiume Fosita, Cooper Vuna

Ireland to face Japan

Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt.), Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Josh Van der Flier, CJ Stander, Conor Murray, Jack Carty, Jacob Stockdale, Chris Farrell, Garry Ringrose, Keith Earls, Rob Kearney. Reserves: Sean Cronin, David Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath, Joey Carbery, Jordan Larmour

SOUTH AFRICA vs NAMIBIA

South Africa to face Namibia

Tendai Mtawarira, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager, Francois Louw, Kwagga Smith, Schalk Brits (capt.), Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Makazole Mapimpi, Frans Steyn, Lukhanyo Am, S'Busiso Nkosi, Warrick Gelant. Reserves: Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert, Cobus Reinach, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe 

Namibia to face South Africa

Desiderius Sethie, Louis van der Westhuizen, AJ De Klerk, Johan Retief, Tjiuee Uanivi (capt.), Thomasau Forbes, Muharua Katjijeko, Adriaan Booysen, Eugene Jantjies, Cliven Loubser, Lesley Klim, Peter John Walters, JC Greyling, Chad Plato, Johan Tromp. Reserves: Obert Nortje, Andre Rademeyer, Johannes Coetzee, Prince Gaoseb, Janco Venter, Wian Conradie, Helarius Axasman Kisting, Johan Deysel

AUSTRALIA vs WALES

TBC