Wales beat Fiji to reach Rugby World Cup quarters, Scots set up showdown with Japan and Pumas pummel USA

Wales’ center Jonathan Davies hands off Fiji’s center Jale Vatubua during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Wales and Fiji at the Oita Stadium. (AFP)
Updated 09 October 2019

Wales beat Fiji to reach Rugby World Cup quarters, Scots set up showdown with Japan and Pumas pummel USA

  • Fiji scored two tries in the first eight minutes playing some free-flowing rugby, but Wales pegged them back and a Liam Williams try with 12 minutes left buried the Fijians’ chances
  • Scotland will play Japan for a spot in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after a 26-point haul from Adam Hastings helped them to a nine-try, 61-0 thrashing of Russia

OITA, Japan: Winger Josh Adams scored a sensational hat-trick on Wednesday as Wales booked a Rugby World Cup quarter-final place with a 29-17 bonus-point win over Fiji, sending Australia through in the process.
In an end-to-end encounter in Oita, Fiji scored two tries in the first eight minutes playing some free-flowing rugby, but the Six Nations champions pegged them back and a Liam Williams try with 12 minutes left buried the Fijians’ chances.
The result also guaranteed Australia’s progress to the last eight ahead of their final Pool D game against Georgia on Friday.
But the victory may have come at a high price for Wales with playmaker Dan Biggar apparently knocked out in an aerial clash with team-mate Liam Williams, and Adams limped off with a knee injury after breaking the game open with his third try when the score was deadlocked 17-17.
Scotland will play Japan for a spot in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after a 26-point haul from Adam Hastings helped them to a nine-try, 61-0 thrashing of Russia on Wednesday.
A Scottish side boasting 14 changes from the team that beat Samoa 34-0 last week easily outgunned a Russian side ranked 20th in the world and which had suffered three defeats in their three previous Pool A games (Japan 30-10, Samoa 34-9, Ireland 35-0).
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend had no option but to rest the likes of big guns Greig Laidlaw, Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg, Blade Thompson and Johnny Gray, with only a four-day turnover before the game against Japan in Yokohama on Sunday.
Townsend’s bet on a largely second-string side producing enough to seal the win paid off, however, with Hastings — son of legendary former captain Gavin — running the show with aplomb at Shizuoka’s Ecopa Stadium.
The result leaves Scotland on 10 points in Pool A while unbeaten hosts Japan have 14 and Ireland — who play Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday — 11. Only the two top sides will advance to the knock-out phase.
Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez showed Argentina what they had been missing with a masterful first-half performance Wednesday, as the eliminated Pumas restored some pride with a 47-17 win against the United States at the Rugby World Cup.
Sanchez was controversially left out of the matchday 23 for the crunch match against England last Saturday, which Argentina lost 39-10, resulting in their first pool-stage exit since 2003.
But the Stade Francais playmaker ran the show against the United States in Kumagaya, getting Argentina off the mark after a cagey first 20 minutes by outpacing US fullback Mike Te’o to the line.
With nothing to lose, Argentina played a highly entertaining brand of free-flowing rugby, slicing through American defenses seemingly at will.


Neymar limps off as Brazil draw with Nigeria

Updated 14 October 2019

Neymar limps off as Brazil draw with Nigeria

  • The 27-year-old’s return to Champions League action may now be delayed

SINGAPORE: Neymar limped off injured early on as Brazil played out a 1-1 friendly draw against a spirited Nigeria at the Singapore National Stadium on Sunday.

The five-time world champions fell behind in the first half, but Casemiro's equalizer early in the second period prevented a loss but then  Brazil were unable to leave Southeast Asia with a victory by wasting chances, after also being held by Senegal on Thursday.

Brazil started well, with Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino firing just wide in the third minute after a smart turn near the penalty spot.

However, Brazil were dealt a major blow when Neymar limped off in the 12th minute with what appeared to be a left thigh problem — the Paris Saint-Germain striker replaced by Bayern Munich’s Philippe Coutinho to bring a premature end to his 101st international appearance.

Neymar's return to Champions League action may now be delayed, with PSG facing Club Brugge on Oct. 22 after the world’s most expensive player missed the first two games through suspension.

“During the match he felt a muscle injury, so I took him off as a precaution,” Brazil coach Tite said.

“Neymar did not have a muscle issue before the match. I would never start a player if they had a hint of a problem like this, I would never pay that price,” Tite added of the 27-year-old, who has suffered a string of injuries since his move from Barcelona to PSG in 2017.

“My career has taught me that I would never use a player if he was not in condition to play. It would be irresponsible of me to risk a player carrying an injury.”

Neymar will be disappointed he was unable to draw level with Brazil legend Ronaldo, who sits second in the country’s all-time scoring list behind Pele, on 62 international goals this week. But Nigeria provided resolute opposition by working hard to prevent the South Americans from forging many clear openings.

Gabriel Jesus, Firmino and Coutinho all went close for Brazil, but it was Nigeria who took the lead in the 35th minute when Joe Aribo burst through a gap in the South Americans' defence and skipped around Marquinhos before firing low past goalkeeper Ederson from close range.

The smart strike was the English-born player's second goal in two appearance for Nigeria after the Rangers midfielder scored on his debut against Ukraine last month.

A more determined Brazil needed just three minutes after the interval to draw level, however, as Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro slotted home after a Marquinhos header had rattled the crossbar following a well-worked corner.

Brazil ramped up the pressure as the match progressed, stretching the Nigeria defence with sharp passing and clever movement as Casemiro, Jesus and half-time substitute Richarlison all came close to giving their side the lead.

Tite's men poured forward in search of a winner with Coutinho guilty of wasting a glorious opportunity with five minutes remaining when the unmarked midfielder's weak effort was cleared off the line by Semi Ajayi.

"I thought it was a good match for us and we created plenty of chances but just could not get that second goal," Tite added. "We definitely missed Neymar's creativity after he went off."