The Latest: Kiwi captain Read pays tribute to Best’s career
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Saturday at the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
Rory Best’s 14-year international career ended in tears, the Irish captain leaving the field after an hour of being pummeled by the New Zealand All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.
The crowd gave the 37-year-old hooker a rousing send-off at Tokyo Stadium, recognizing his long service for Ireland after 124 tests.
Best made his test debut in 2005 in a 45-7 loss to the All Blacks in Dublin and finished with a 46-14 loss. In between, he helped Ireland win four Six Nations titles, including the Grand Slam as captain last year, and led the Irish to their first ever test win over New Zealand, at Chicago in 2016.
New Zealand captain Kieran Read paid tribute to his counterpart after the game.
“I’d just like to echo what the crowd said about Rory, his fantastic career,” Read said in a TV interview. “Mate, you’ve been a legend of the game, so thank you very much for all you’ve given.”
Two-time defending champion New Zealand trounced Ireland 46-14 to move into a Rugby World semifinal against England.
The result was virtually beyond doubt by halftime, when the New Zealanders led 22-0, and the continuance of two opposing streaks seemed certain.
New Zealand hasn’t lost a World Cup game since a quarterfinal upset loss to France in 2007. Ireland is still yet to win a World Cup knockout game after eight attempts.
The Irish may never have felt more confident, after breaking their century-long drought with a win over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016 and winning again in Dublin last November. They were ranked No. 1 coming into the tournament, but were never in the contest in the quarterfinal.
Aaron Smith scored twice and Beauden Barrett crossed once in the first half, and the All Blacks added four more tries in the second half by Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, George Bridge and Jordie Barrett.
Robbie Henshaw stepped over for Ireland’s first try in the 69th and the Irish were awarded a penalty try with four minutes to play when Todd was penalized on his own tryline and yellow-carded.
England beat Australia 40-16 earlier Saturday in Oita.
Aaron Smith scored twice and Beauden Barrett finished off a long-range try against the run of play as the New Zealand All Blacks took a commanding 22-0 lead over Ireland at halftime in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal.
The two-time defending champion All Blacks haven’t lost a game at the Rugby World Cup since an upset quarterfinal defeat in 2007. The Irish have lost all previous knockout games they’ve played at the sport’s showcase tournament.
That’s two streaks that appear set to continue.
Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga opened the scoring with a penalty goal in the 6th and scrumhalf Smith darted over twice from close range in the 14th and 20th minutes.
Ireland was in good attacking position but fumbled the ball in the 32nd, Mo’unga hacked it forward off the ground for Barrett to chase, and the fullback toed it forward again before regathering as he dived over to score in the right corner. Mo’unga missed with the conversation attempt, his only blemish off the tee in the first half.
The winner at Tokyo Stadium will play a semifinal against England, which thumped Australia 40-16 earlier Saturday in Oita.
When the New Zealand rugby team does its haka, it’s normally quiet around the stadium. It was nothing like that before the All Blacks faced Ireland in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal.
Scattered green pockets of Irish fans in Tokyo Stadium were singing at the top of their lungs as the Ireland team stood arm-in-arm behind the halfway line facing the New Zealand players as they did their ceremonial pre-game dance.
The crowd of about 50,000 was also into it, singing or mesmerized by the Kiwis as the two-time defending World Cup champions went through their intimidating ritual.
England reached the Rugby World Cups semifinals for the first time in 12 years by beating Australia 40-16 for a record-tying win over its bitter rival.
The English outscored Australia by four tries to one in Oita to equal the 24-point margin of victory against Australia from November 2017 at Twickenham. England has now won this fixture a record-extending seven straight times.
Winger Jonny May scored two tries in a three-minute span midway through the first half to put the English 14-3 ahead, a lead they never lost despite it being trimmed to one point soon after halftime by Australia winger Marika Koroibete’s solo try from halfway.
England prop Kyle Sinckler delivered a match-defining contribution, strolling over for a try in an immediate response to Koroibete’s score and then turning over the ball on England’s tryline under fierce pressure 10 minutes later.
Anthony Watson added the fourth try from an intercept, and Owen Farrell’s conversion gave him 20 points for the match with a flawless display from the kicking tee.
The Wallabies failed to reach the semifinals for only the third time in nine editions of the World Cup, and each of their quarterfinal losses have come against England.
England will play either New Zealand or Ireland in Yokohama next Saturday.
Jonny May scored two tries in three minutes to help England to a 17-9 lead over Australia at halftime in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match in Oita.
After leading England out onto the field for his 50th cap, the winger went over in the left corner from close range in the 18th minute as England responded to Christian Lealiifano’s 12th-minute penalty for the Wallabies.
Then, England center Henry Slade collected an errant pass from David Pocock on England’s 22, ran forward 40 meters, before executing a perfect grubber kick forward for May to gather on the run and find the left corner again.
Both tries were converted by flyhalf Owen Farrell, who also added a penalty in the 30th.
Lealiifano has kicked three penalties for the Australians, who lost to England at the quarterfinal stage in 1995 and 2007 — the only times they have failed to reach the last four.
England is looking to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2007.
There’s a little over an hour to go until kickoff and England coach Eddie Jones is the first man out on the field at Oita Stadium. Dressed in a white shirt, he’s all alone as he walks to the middle and has a moment to himself, looking all around the ground.
It will be a strange occasion for Jones, whose team is taking on the country where he was born. Jones was the Australia coach at the 2003 World Cup, when the Wallabies lost in the final to England.
He will also be going up against a former teammate from Sydney club Randwick, Michael Cheika, who is now Australia coach.
Jones, hired after England’s shambolic performance at the 2015 World Cup on home soil, still has two years left on his contract with England. This could prove to be his final match in charge if his team loses, though, with the semifinals regarded as a minimum requirement for his employer, the Rugby Football Union.
Cheika is also likely to leave his post if Australia fails to get beyond the quarterfinals.
Japan’s run to the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals is breaking broadcast audience records in the host nation.
Rugby World Cup organizers said Japan’s win over Scotland in the last of the pool games last Sunday at Yokohama attracted 53.7% peak audience share for the host broadcaster, representing a 54.8 million audience, which was bigger than the audience for soccer’s 2002 World Cup final in Yokohama on NHK.
Japan’s opening match against Russia attracted a peak audience of 26 million, the win over Ireland increased to a 29.5 million audience, and the closing stages of the win over Samoa attracted a peak of 47 million. The win over Scotland ensured Japan advanced to the knockout stage of the Rugby World Cup for the first time. The home team will play South Africa on Sunday in the quarterfinals.
There were 13 million views of the official Rugby World Cup 2019 Japanese language Twitter media account last Sunday, more than double the views of the English language account.
A bitter old rivalry and a relatively new one will feature in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday, when England and Australia meet in Oita and defending champion New Zealand takes on Ireland at Tokyo Stadium.
Australia and England have met six times at the Rugby World Cup, with each country winning three. The Australians beat England in the 1991 final at Twickenham, and the English avenged that with an extra-time win in the 2003 final in Sydney. That remains the only time a team from the northern hemisphere has won rugby’s biggest prize.
Since the Wallabies’ 33-13 win in 2015 contributed to England’s pool-stage exit at the tournament it was hosting, Australian Eddie Jones has coached the England squad to six consecutive wins over Michael Cheika’s Australians. England is favored to make that seven in a row.
The New Zealand All Blacks haven’t lost a match at the Rugby World Cup since an upset quarterfinal defeat to France in 2007. The Irish have lost all seven knockout matches they’ve played. But since breaking a 111-year drought with a victory over the All Blacks in 2016, Ireland is 2-1 in head-to-heads with New Zealand.