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The Latest: Samoa center Rey Lee-Lo gets 3-match ban at RWC

September 26, 2019
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Samoa's Rey Lee-lo, centre scores a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game between Russia and Samoa at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya City, Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)
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Samoa's Rey Lee-lo, centre scores a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool A game between Russia and Samoa at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya City, Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 7 of the Rugby World Cup (all times local):

11:55 p.m.

Samoa center Rey Lee-Lo has been banned for the team’s final three pool matches at the Rugby World Cup for a dangerous tackle.

Lee-Lo was cited for a shoulder-led hit on the head of Russia captain Vasily Artemyev in Samoa’s 34-9 win on Tuesday. He was sin-binned.

A disciplinary committee said the tackle deserved a red card because it was reckless. The entry point for a ban was six matches, but that was reduced to three because of the center’s previous disciplinary record and conduct at the hearing.

Lee-Lo, who will miss matches against Scotland, Ireland and Japan, would be free to play again should Samoa reach the quarterfinals.

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9:45 p.m.

England scored seven tries and won 45-7 over the United States, from which a man was sent off.

The U.S. was so nearly the first team to be kept scoreless after 12 games in Japan — it scored its only try through replacement Bryce Campbell nearly two minutes after the final hooter.

The U.S. was the first team to have a player red-carded in this tournament.

Flanker John Quill flattened England’s Owen Farrell in a high, no-arms tackle with 10 minutes to go, provoking a melee that involved nearly every player on the field. Quill was given a straight red after referee Nic Berry checked TV replays. Quill’s the first American to get a red at a Rugby World Cup.

England utterly dominated across the field in Kobe.

England has two wins from two and two bonus points to top Pool C. The U.S. has a hard road ahead in a pool that also contains France, Argentina and Tonga.

Flyhalf George Ford sliced through for the first try. Forwards Billy Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie drove over from rolling mauls within eight minutes of each other. Wing Joe Cokanasiga secured the four-try bonus point early in the second half with the first of his two tries. The other wing, Ruaridh McConnochie, and Lewis Ludlam also crossed.

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8:35 p.m.

England leads the United States 19-0 at halftime in Pool C and is dominant across the field at Kobe Misaki Stadium.

The U.S. is hanging on in its first game at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and could be blown away in the second 40.

England’s first of three tries came in the sixth minute when flyhalf George Ford sliced through the line to go in between the posts. England had nearly scored in the left corner before Ford, standing in as captain, made sure.

No. 8 Billy Vunipola added a second try at the back of a rolling maul that went surging over the U.S. line with little resistance. Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie was over from a second rolling maul eight minutes later.

England has had 75% territory in the first half.

The U.S. lost promising 19-year-old prop David Ainu’u after the first scrum in the third minute to what appeared to be a foot or ankle injury.

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7:50 p.m.

The United States is the last team to make its entrance at the Rugby World Cup and its Pool C game against England has kicked off under a closed roof at Kobe Misaki Stadium.

The US has lost all five if its previous tests against England, three of them at World Cups.

Former champion England is under pressure to deliver a strong performance against the Americans after an average start to beat Tonga 35-3 last Sunday in Sapporo. England is top of the pool but must still play Argentina and then three-time finalist France.

Teenage prop David Ainu’u starts for the U.S. and lines up against England veteran Dan Cole, who is playing his 91st test to draw level with 2003 World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson as England’s third most capped player.

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6:50 p.m.

Italy has gone a long way to securing third place in Pool B after crushing group rival Canada 48-7.

The forwards dominated as Italy got another seven tries and another bonus-point win, having done the same in the 47-22 win against Namibia.

Italy led 17-0 at halftime with tries from Steyn and Budd, the stand-in captain for Sergio Parisse.

Flyhalf Tommaso Allan converted them and slotted over an early penalty.

Shortly after the break, Negri grabbed his first try for Italy, converted again by Allan.

A penalty try; one try each from winger Mattia Bellini and replacement prop Federico Zani, and finally a late effort from impressive fullback Matteo Minozzi concluded the rout.

Fullback Andrew Coe got a consolation try for Canada, which lost all four group matches at the last World Cup.

Coach Conor O’Shea’s Italy side has a stranglehold on third spot with a maximum 10 points.

Namibia and Canada need to win twice to have a chance of qualifying — and must beat either defending champion New Zealand or South Africa to do so.

Canada next faces three-time champion New Zealand on Wednesday and Italy faces two-time winner South Africa two days later.

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5:40 p.m.

Italy is dominating against Canada and leads 17-0 at halftime in their Pool B match.

After beating Namibia 47-22 in a rather inconsistent performance, Italy has been much better against a Canada side which started the first 15 minutes poorly and then fluffed an easy try.

Italy’s tries came from No. 8 Braam Steyn and lock Dean Budd — the stand-in captain for Sergio Parisse — with flyhalf Tommaso Allan converting both after slotting over an early penalty.

Canada’s most dangerous move around midway through the half ended with a knock-on as No. 8 Tyler Ardron and replacement flanker Matt Heaton botched a basic 2-on-1 attack with Heaton dropping the pass when a try under the crossbar beckoned.

Canada foraged forward again late on in the half, but Italy’s cover tackling and Allan’s kicking out from the back were assured.

Italy ended it on top and came close to adding a third try.

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3:15 p.m.

Japan has made six changes, two of them positional, to the starting side that beat Russia for the Pool A match against Ireland on Saturday in Shizuoka.

Captain and flanker Michael Leitch, prop Asaeli Ai Valu, lock Wimpie van der Walt, and wing Lomano Lava Lemeki have all dropped into the reserves.

Regular No. 8 Amanaki Lelei Mafi was back after recovering from a shoulder injury against South Africa in the last World Cup warmup this month. Prop Jiwon Koo, lock Luke Thompson — the oldest player in this World Cup at 38 — and fullback Ryohei Yamanaka come up from the reserves.

William Tupou has switched from fullback to wing for the first time in his test career, in place of Lemeki, and Kazuki Himeno has switched from No. 8 to flanker in place of Leitch.

Openside flanker Pieter Labuschagne becomes the third foreign-born player to captain Japan in a World Cup match.

Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, William Tupou, Yu Tamura, Yutaka Nagare; Amanaki Lelei Mafi, Pieter Labuschagne (captain), Kazuki Himeno, James Moore, Luke Thompson, Jiwon Koo, Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki. Reserves: Atsushi Sakate, Isileli Nakajima, Asaeli Ai Valu, Wimpie van der Walt, Michael Leitch, Fumiaki Tanaka, Rikiya Matsuda, Lomano Lava Lemeki.

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1:30 p.m.

Tonga coach Toutai Kefu has made several changes to the side to face Argentina on Saturday.

The main one is enforced and sees James Faiva replacing influential flyhalf Kurth Morath, who severely injured his throat in last weekend’s 35-3 loss to England.

Telusa Veainu replaces David Halaifonua at fullback; Viliami Lolohea comes in for Atieli Pakalani on the right wing, and Paul Ngauamo is in for Sosefo Sakalia at hooker.

Halaifonua goes onto the left wing in a positional switch, only the third time he has played there — and 10 years after the first time.

Center Siale Piutau captains the side.

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

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1:15 p.m.

Jack Carty will start at flyhalf for Ireland against Japan on Saturday in Shizuoka.

Jonathan Sexton injured a quad against Scotland last Sunday and wasn’t to be risked.

Carty made his Ireland debut in February and will start for only the second time.

Ireland made four changes — all in the backline — to the starting XV that beat Scotland 27-3. The forwards are unchanged after dominating Scotland.

Wing Keith Earls and fullback Rob Kearney have recovered from injuries, and Chris Farrell is at inside center for Bundee Aki, who was also hurt against the Scots but was available.

Joey Carbery has also recovered from an ankle injury against Italy in July to make the reserves.

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

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12:25 p.m.

Namibia has made 10 changes to the starting XV that lost to Italy 47-22 for the Pool B match against South Africa on Saturday in Toyota.

Only captain and lock Tjiuee Uanivi, and backs Cliven Loubser, JC Greyling, Chad Plato, and Johan Tromp are retained.

Scrumhalf Eugene Jantjies will extend the Welwitschias’ all-time appearances record to 68.

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

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12:15 p.m.

Argentina has made four changes to the starting lineup that lost to France 23-21 for the Pool C match against Tonga on Saturday in Osaka.

Hooker Julian Montoya, No. 8 Tomas Lezana, flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta and left wing Santiago Carreras come in.

Urdapilleta came off the bench against France, and will start his first game for the Pumas in more than six years.

Once again, out of the 23 is Juan Manuel Leguizamon, who needs one more test appearance to equal Felipe Contepomi’s Pumas record of 87.

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

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10:45 a.m.

Samoa No. 8 Afaesetiti Amosa is out of the Rugby World Cup with a right knee ligament injury, piling more problems on a team which already has two players facing bans for dangerous high tackles.

Samoa assistant coach Alistair Rogers says Amosa ruptured a ligament in the process of scoring a try in the 34-9 win over Russia on Tuesday. Amosa traveled with the squad to Kobe on Wednesday, reportedly moving around in a wheelchair, and is expected to leave Japan soon.

Samoa also has concerns for hooker Motu Matu’u and scrumhalf Dwayne Polataivao, who both have symptoms of concussion. And Matu’u and center Rey Lee-Lo have been cited for dangerous tackles vs. Russia and face disciplinary hearings and possible bans.

Samoa plays Scotland next in Kobe on Monday night and has tough games after that in Pool A against host Japan and No. 2-ranked Ireland.

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9:25 a.m.

The last two teams to appear in the Rugby World Cup — Canada and the United States — take the stage on the seventh day Thursday.

Canada play Italy in Fukuoka with wing DTH van der Merwe hoping to equal Jonah Lomu and score a try in a fifth straight World Cup match.

Van der Merwe scored in all four of Canada’s matches in the 2015 World Cup in England, though Canada lost them all.

Canada isn’t favored here either, having not beaten Italy since 2000, and lost both of their previous World Cup matchups in 2003 and 2015.

Italy started this World Cup beating Namibia 47-22.

The Americans meet England in Kobe in the second pool game on Thursday.

The United States has lost all previous five meetings with England — three at the World Cup — but the latter’s coach, Eddie Jones, still warned his side to watch out for “15 Donald Trumps.”

England opened against Tonga last Sunday and was medicore in a 35-3 win. England has made 10 changes to the starting lineup.

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