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TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 9 of the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):
Spirits were high and the ranking was rising. While fans were celebrating up and down the length of the country after the Rugby World Cup hosts upset Ireland 19-12, the sport’s governing body revealed the result meant Japan’s ranking would reach an all-time high.
Supporters were calling it the sequel to the so-called Miracle of Brighton, when Japan upset two-time World Cup champion South Africa in England in 2015 in the biggest upset in the tournament’s history. This time, on home soil, Japan rallied from 12-3 down to beat Ireland in the shocker in Shizuoka. It also lifted Japan to a record high No. 8 in the World Rugby rankings.
Japan went close to reaching the last eight at the 2015 World Cup but just missed out. This time, reaching the quarterfinals is the goal, and Japan is leading Pool A with group games remaining against Samoa and Scotland.
Ireland started the tournament with the No. 1 ranking but lost top spot when defending champion New Zealand beat South Africa. The Irish have now slid to No. 4.
South Africa restored some order at the Rugby World Cup by putting away Namibia 57-3 in Toyota.
The Springboks’ second string lineup was still a different level against the World Cup’s lowest-ranked team in a Pool B game that was only a side story to Japan’s shock win over Ireland hours earlier. That threw the tournament on its head and put Japan in ecstasy.
South Africa scored nine tries, five in the first half and four in the second. Hooker Bongi Mbonambi and winger Makazole Mapimpi had a pair each.
Namibia has never won a Rugby World Cup game and the gulf between the teams was clear – and big – despite them being southern African neighbors. Namibia also had players sin-binned in each half to make it much harder for itself.
South Africa is 31-3 up at halftime against Namibia and it doesn’t look like there’s any chance of another upset on Saturday at the Rugby World Cup.
Host Japan threw the tournament on its head a few hours earlier by beating Ireland, the No. 1-ranked team in the world at the start of the tournament.
In Toyota, the Springboks scored five tries in the first 40 minutes against the lowest ranked team at the World Cup. Namibia has never won a game at the World Cup.
Hooker Bongi Mbonambi scored two tries from rolling mauls and flanker Francois Louw scored one. Winger Makazole Mapimpi and center Lukhanyo Am also crossed.��
After a rapid start, the South Africans were sloppy for a 10-minute period before Am scored right at the end of the half. Flyhalf Cliven Loubser kicked a penalty for Namibia’s only points.
After the Rugby World Cup was thrown on its head by host Japan’s upset of Ireland in Shizuoka, Namibia hopes for another stunner against South Africa in Toyota.
Its chances are much slimmer than Japan’s. Namibia is the lowest-ranked team at the tournament and is up against the two-time champions.
The Springboks are looking to rebound from an opening loss to New Zealand in Pool B. Namibia was brave before going down to Italy. Japan’s biggest previous biggest win at the Rugby World Cup was an upset over the Springboks in England four years ago.
Schalk Brits captains South Africa against Namibia. Normally a hooker, Brits will play at No. 8 as South Africa made 13 changes to its team following the New Zealand game, resting most of its front-line players against the minnow of the World Cup.
Namibia, the Springboks’ southern African neighbor, has never won a Rugby World Cup game in 20 attempts.
Japan has produced another Rugby World Cup shocker to beat an Ireland team that was ranked No. 1 coming into the tournament.
Japan beat South Africa in the 2015 World Cup in what was considered the biggest upset in the tournament’s history. The 19-12 win over Ireland on Saturday is another massive result, particularly for the first Rugby World Cup held in Asia.
Japan leads Pool A with wins over Russia and Ireland. The Irish had opened with an emphatic 27-3 win over Scotland and had been a heavy favorite to win at Shizuoka.
Captain Jack Lam will return at No. 8 among four changes Samoa coach Vaeluaga Steve Jackson made to his starting XV to play Scotland amid a series of injuries and suspensions.
Hooker Ray Niuia, scrumhalf Melani Matavao and winger Belgium Tuatagaloa all come into the starting XV in changes from Samoa’s opening win over Russia.
Lam will make his World Cup captaincy debut against Scotland 28 years after his cousin, Pat Lam, led Samoa at the 1991 World Cup.
Backrower Afaesetiti Amosa has been ruled out after rupturing a right knee ligament, and center Rey Lee-Lo and hooker Motu Matu’u each received three-match bans for dangerous tackles against Russia to rule them out of the rest of the group stage.
Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams, Belgium Tuatagaloa, Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Ed Fidow, Tusi Pisi, Melani Matavao; Jack Lam (captain), . TJ Ioane, Chris Vui, Kane Le’aupepe, Teofilo Paulo, Michael Alaalatoa, Ray Niuia, Logovii Mulipola. Reserves: Seilala Lam, Paul Alo-Emile, Jordan Lay, Piula Faasalele, Josh Tyrell, Pele Cowley, Ulupano Seuteni, Kieron Fonotia.
Ireland leads Japan 12-9, two tries to three penalties, at halftime of their Pool A match in Shizuoka.
Flyhalf Jack Carty, in place for the injured Jonathan Sexton, was directing Ireland with veteran confidence as he set up both of their tries.
His crosskick to center Garry Ringrose was pinpoint to the center to catch and score, and his chip was tapped back by Ringrose over shorter opposite Ryoto Nakamura for fullback Rob Kearney to catch and dive to the tryline.
The Irish led 12-3 after 21 minutes, and spent the rest of the half on defense as Japan probed the outside and pushed Ireland off its scrum ball for the reward of two more Yu Tamura penalty kicks.
Jamie Joseph has been forced to make last-minute changes to his Japan squad to face Ireland at the Rugby World Cup.
Lomano Lemeki was moved from the bench to the left wing to replace William Tupou, who usually plays center or fullback but was named on the wing in the original squad for Saturday’s Pool A game at Shizuoka.
Kenki Fukuoka was drafted onto the reserves bench as cover. Japan won the tournament opener against Russia. Ireland opened its campaign with a lopsided win over Scotland.
Revised Japan lineup: Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Lomano Lemeki, 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, Kenki Fukuoka.
Three tries from hooker Julian Montoya helped Argentina to a bonus-point 28-12 win over Tonga in their must-win Rugby World Cup Pool C game.
Argentina led 28-0, with left winger Santiago Carreras getting the other try and flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta converting them all as a rout looked
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