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Day 27 at the Rugby World Cup: Quarter-finalists prepare for action

Japan made sure their memorable Rugby World Cup would not be blown off course.

Japan celebrated victory to lift spirits after a difficult few days (David Davies/PA)
Japan celebrated victory to lift spirits after a difficult few days (David Davies/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

With the opening stages now complete following Sunday’s games, there is a break in live action as the clean-up operation from Typhoon Hagibis continues.

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Japan made sure their memorable Rugby World Cup would not be blown off course as they ended Scotland’s hopes of a place in the quarter-finals.

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake coincided with Hagibis hitting Japan’s east coast, which left at least two dozen people dead.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what lies ahead and wraps up Sunday’s action.

England keep themselves in shape

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Jamie George is relishing the tough workouts (Adam Davy/PA)

England have begun their quarter-final preparations in Miyazaki, the setting for a pre-tournament training camp.

Eddie Jones’ squad had been set to face Six Nations rivals France in their final pool fixture in Yokohama on Saturday, before it was cancelled.

There has, though, been no taking things easy – with a practice session soon developing into a game played at full throttle.

“It was good, the boys looked sharp and we are building nicely towards getting to where we want to be,” Saracens hooker Jamie George said.

England depart for Oita on Monday, with Jones due to name his team on Thursday ahead of the quarter-final against Australia.

Aki faces anxious wait

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Bundee Aki was shown a red card against Samoa (Adam Davy/PA)

Ireland are flying a specialist lawyer in to Japan in a bid to keep Bundee Aki’s World Cup alive.

Following his red card in Ireland’s 47-5 win over Samoa, Connacht centre Aki faces a disciplinary hearing in Tokyo on Monday night.

Aki was sent off for a high tackle on UJ Seuteni in Fukuoka – and the 29-year-old could be hit with a suspension.

Joe Schmidt’s men are set to face holders New Zealand in Chofu on October 19.

Canada lend a helping hand

Canada’s players have helped with recovery efforts after landslides and flooding cancelled their final World Cup match against Namibia in Kamaishi on Sunday.

After the announcement was made, Team Canada wrote on Twitter: “We respect the decision made by the Rugby World Cup, but are disappointed to miss out on this opportunity to compete.

“Thanks to all for your support throughout out #RWC2019 campaign & wish all visitors and residents safety during Typhoon Hagibis.”

The match was recorded as a 0-0 draw, both teams awarded two points – which meant Canada finished bottom of Pool B.

“We have welcomed the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s best rugby nations, and will benefit from this valuable experience as we continue to put in the work necessary to build a better future for rugby in Canada,” the team’s statement added.

Brave Blossoms lift spirits

Japan brought some much-needed cheer to Yokohama after they reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time to end Scotland’s outside hopes of progress with a thrilling 28-21 victory.

Star winger Kotaro Matsushima scored his fifth try of the tournament for the super-charged hosts, who will go on to face South Africa in Chofu on October 20.

Scotland suffered their second pool exit in three tournaments, but head coach Gregor Townsend believes his players can come back stronger.

“Experiences are what make you as a group and how you react to those experiences,” he said.

Wales all set for France showdown

Wales – with a team showing some 13 changes – made sure of top spot in Pool D with a somewhat laboured 35–13 win over Uruguay in Kumamoto.

France await in Oita next Sunday, when Wales should have both Jonathan Davies and Dan Biggar fit.

“We are in a good place and building some momentum nicely,” Wales head coach Warren Gatland said.

Tonga give Piutau fitting send off

Tonga secured the perfect ending for captain Siale Piutau on his 34th birthday with a 31-19 defeat of the USA at Hanazono.

It was the Pacific Islanders’ first victory of the tournament and saw them avoid finishing bottom of Pool C.

To cap things off, Piutau scored Tonga’s third try and was named player of the match – after also successfully kicking the last conversion of the game in his final international appearance.

“I didn’t want to take it, but they insisted,” Piutau said. “And I certainly didn’t want to miss it because I would have become an online meme.”

Coming up

  • England v Australia (October 19, Oita, 0815 BST)
  • New Zealand v Ireland (October 19, Chofu, 1115 BST)
  • Wales v France (October 20, Oita, 0815 BST)
  • Japan v South Africa (October 20, Chofu, 1115 BST)

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