The Latest: Samoa makes two changes for Ireland match
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 21 at the typhoon-affected Rugby World Cup (all times local):
Samoa has made two changes for its final Rugby World Cup Pool A game against Ireland in Fukuoka on Saturday.
The changes from the lineup which lost 38-19 to Japan last Saturday are in the forwards, where loose-head prop Logovii Mulipola replaces Jordan Lay and Teofilo Paulo comes in for Piula Faasalele at lock in head coach Steve Jackson’s lineup.
They are both on the bench for the game, which is set to go ahead despite Typhoon Hagibis causing two other World Cup matches to be cancelled on Saturday.
The Lam brothers are set to start a second consecutive World Cup match together, with Seilala at hooker and Jack, the team’s captain, at No. 8.
Henry Taefu, who scored all the points against Japan, starts in midfield alongside Alapati Leiua.
Samoa is second-to-last in the group, having beaten Russia and losing to Scotland.
Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams, Ah See Tuala, Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Ed Fidow, Ulupano Seuteni, Dwayne Polataivao; Jack Lam (captain), TJ Ioane, Chris Vui, Kane Le’aupepe, Teofilo Paulo, Michael Alaalatoa, Seilala Lam, Logovii Mulipola. Reserves: Ray Niuia, Paul Alo-Emile, Jordan Lay, Piula Faasalele, Josh Tyrell, Pele Cowley, Tusi Pisi, Kieron Fonotia.
Italy veterans Sergio Parisse and Leonardo Ghiraldini have been denied their farewell games at the Rugby World Cup because of Typhoon Hagibis.
The 34-year-old Parisse, who is Italy’s captain, is one of only three players to play in five World Cups. He has said he is retiring after the tournament in Japan. Parisse has played 142 tests, the most by a northern hemisphere player and second on the all-time list behind by New Zealand’s Richie McCaw.
He was set to say goodbye against the world champion All Blacks in Toyota on Saturday, but that’s one of two games organizers have canceled because of the threat of Hagibis. England against France is also off.
Italy hooker Ghiraldini, who recovered from injury to play at the World Cup, was due to be given a 20-minute spell by coach Conor O’Shea for his farewell against New Zealand. Ghiraldini, who is also 34, has played for Italy for 13 years. He reportedly shed tears at the Italian team camp in Toyota on Thursday when news broke the game had been canceled.
Scotland says it expects contingency plans to be put in place to play its crucial match against Japan, even though World Rugby says there are no backup plans if it has to cancel the match on Sunday because of Typhoon Hagibis.
World Rugby says the game is going ahead in Yokohama as scheduled but it will be under review until hours before kickoff.
Scotland must beat Japan to reach the quarterfinals. If the game is cancelled, Japan, which leads Scotland by four points in the Pool A standings, will advance to its first quarterfinal and Scotland will miss out.
“We are in regular dialogue with World Rugby at all levels to work to ensure our fixture against Japan on Sunday can be played as planned. Public safety is the clear priority,” Scottish Rugby said in a statement.
“With potential impact on our last Pool A fixture, Scottish Rugby fully expects contingency plans to be put in place to enable Scotland to contest for a place in the quarterfinals on the pitch, and will be flexible to accommodate this.”
But the rules state that if a pool game can’t be played on its scheduled date, it will be cancelled and logged as a draw with two points each to the teams.
World Rugby said: “Every effort is being made to ensure Sunday’s matches will be played as scheduled. A thorough assessment of venues will take place after the typhoon has passed before a final decision is made on Sunday morning.”
Scotland is scheduled to move to its Yokohama hotel on Friday.
England is leaving Tokyo for Miyazaki on the southern island of Kyushu to avoid Typhoon Hagibis.
The England-France pool match scheduled for Saturday in Yokohama was cancelled by Rugby World Cup organizers because that is when and where the approaching storm, the most powerful this year, is expected to make landfall.
Miyazaki hosted England’s pre-tournament training camp.
It’s also not far from Oita, where England’s quarterfinal against Wales or Australia is scheduled next week.
“We’ll have a short camp in Miyazaki and then we’re off to Oita,” Jones said. “We have an exceptional record in two-week preparations.”
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said cancelling their pool match with Italy was “a no-brainer.”
The All Blacks were informed in the morning that it was off, and they still went out and trained.
“When you get a typhoon to the level we’re getting, then safety is the paramount thing so it’s a no-brainer,” Hansen said. “The most important thing that happens now is how we adapt and adjust to it.”
The cancellation meant the defending champion All Blacks advanced to the quarterfinals next week ahead of Italy. They will know their opponent on Sunday, either Ireland, Japan, or Scotland.
Captain Kieran Read said they were disappointed for themselves and Italy, and the fans.
“Of course we’d want this game in terms of game-time and things,” Read said. “But we’ve been around this game a long time, trained a lot together and we’re ready to go next week. It’s got no bearing on how we turn up next week and we’re excited by it.”
The powerful typhoon that has caused the first ever cancellation of Rugby World Cup games has ended Italy’s prospects of reaching the quarterfinals and could upset Scotland’s chances of progressing to the knockout stages as well.
Rugby World Cup organizers announced that two games scheduled for Saturday — the Pool C decider between England and France in Yokohama and the Pool B game between defending champion New Zealand and Italy in the city of Toyota — were canceled because of the anticipated impact of Typhoon Hagibis.
Sunday’s game in Yokohama between host Japan and Scotland could also be scrapped, depending on the weather.
The Japan Meteorological Agency is warning the powerful typhoon may bring torrential rain and strong winds to central parts of the country over Saturday and Sunday, coinciding with the last round of World Cup pool games. It has urged people to take precautions to avoid potentially life-threatening danger. Airlines and train services anticipate cancellations in what is expected to be the most destructive typhoon of 2019.
World Rugby tournament director Alan Gilpin said organizers had looked at all options, including moving the Yokohama and Toyota games to other venues, but it wasn’t logistically possible in a fair way to all teams.
All games canceled because of weather are logged as scoreless draws and each team will get two competition points, meaning Italy cannot finish better than third in Pool B and England will top Pool C without having to play France, despite both teams being unbeaten.
Friday’s Pool D game between Australia and Georgia at Shizuoka and Saturday’s game between Ireland and Samoa at Fukuoka will go ahead as scheduled.