- Associated Press - Thursday, October 17, 2019

TOKYO (AP) - The Latest on Friday at the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):

4 p.m.

All Blacks center Jack Goodhue sports a mullet haircut - short at the front, long at the back and long considered out of vogue.

But Goodhue says he has science on his side.

“There’s scientific evidence it makes me faster…it was done at Harvard, I think,” Goodhue told reporters. Goodhue was joking. He clings to the style because it has become a signature of sorts, a statement of his sense of style and of humor. He happily endures the jibes of his teammates.



Goodhue has made a small concession in the week before New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Ireland, shaving off his luxuriant moustache.

“He’s taken that stupid moustache off, so that’s a good sign he’s preparing well,” All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said.

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock, who currently sports a luxuriant head of hair, fears the day that might not be the case.

“I probably have four haircuts left so I’m hanging onto mine,” he said.

___

3:20 p.m.

France captain Guilhem Guirado is back in the team for the quarterfinal match against Wales on Sunday.

The hooker was left out of the team for the last two games France played in the pool stage, against Tonga and the United States, and a French newspaper reported he had fallen out with coaches Jacques Brunel and Fabien Galthie.

Guirado has reclaimed his place from Camille Chat, though, in a lineup that contains 14 of the 15 players who started France’s opening pool match against Argentina. The only difference is Bernard Le Roux coming into the second row in place of Arthur Iturria, who doesn’t even make the bench.

France: Maxime Medard, Damian Penaud, Virimi Vakatawa, Gael Fickou, Yoann Huget, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon, Wenceslas Lauret, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Bernard Le Roux, Rabah Slimani, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Jefferson Poirot. Reserves: Camille Chat, Cyril Baille, Emerick Setiano, Paul Gabrillagues, Louis Picamoles, Baptiste Serin, Camille Lopez, Vincent Rattez.

___

2:20 p.m.

Whatever the outcome of the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal between Ireland and New Zealand on Saturday, it will mark the end of a coaching era.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen are both stepping down at the end of this World Cup; for one or the other Saturday’s match will make the end of a major career chapter.

New Zealand-born Schmidt has coached Ireland to unprecedented success - a Six Nations championship and its first-ever win over the All Blacks. Hansen won World Cups as an assistant in 2011 and head coach in 2015.

“Come the final whistle one will go right and one will go left,” Hansen said. “Stage right would be the way to go. We all understand that.

“Sport, like life, is not always fair. Sometimes you’re going to get the rub of the green and sometimes you’re not, but the measure of your character is how you deal with either one of those things when the game is over.”

___

1 p.m.

Ryohei Yamanaka has replaced William Tupou in an injury-enforced change to Japan’s starting lineup for the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against South Africa on Sunday.

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph said Tupou was treated after a head knock in the 28-21 win over Scotland last weekend. Tupou failed a head injury assessment and has been ruled of selection.

Japan qualified for the quarterfinals for the first time after topping Pool A with four wins, including an upset over an Irish team that was ranked No. 1 before the tournament.

South Africa has won the title twice, but was stung by a shocking loss to Japan in 2015 that was later dubbed the Miracle of Brighton.

Japan starting XV: Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Kenki Fukuoka, Yu Tamura, Yutaka Nagare; Kazuki Himeno, Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch (captain), James Moore, Luke Thompson, Jiwon Koo, Shota Horie, Keita Inagaki.

___

12:40 p.m.

Dan Biggar has successfully followed return-to-play protocols following a head injury and has been included in Wales‘ team to play France in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

The flyhalf sustained a concussion in an accidental collision against Fiji in a 29-17 win for the Welsh on Oct. 9. The Welsh Rugby Union says Biggar has remained symptom-free since the game and completed the return-to-play protocols, so he has been deemed fit to play by an independent concussion consultant.

Center Jonathan Davies has recovered from a knee injury also sustained against Fiji while winger George North has shaken off a knock to his ankle to also start.

It meant Wales coach Warren Gatland was able to name the same team that started the 29-25 win over Australia in the pool stage.

Wales have beaten France seven times in their past eight meetings.

Lineup: Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright, Alun Wyn Jones, Jake Ball, Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones. Reserves: Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin.

___

12:10 p.m.

The big hits have started between England and Australia before a ball has been kicked in their quarterfinal match.

Australia flyhalf Matt Toomua was in good form with reporters on Thursday, listing the “weaknesses” of his former teammates at Leicester who will be featuring for England in Oita on Saturday. Among them were Manu Tuilagi being a “terrible snooker player,” George Ford “never buying a beer” and Ben Youngs not even being the best rugby player in his family, with his brother, Tom, having also played for England.

Youngs responded on Friday after England training.

“He’s very happy with himself. He sent me a videotape. And he’s not far wrong with some of it,” Youngs said, smiling. “But I thought it was quite ironic - he knows what it’s like to play second fiddle, especially being married to Ellyse Perry. I feel for him. He knows my pain.”

Perry is one of Australia’s most famous sportswomen, having represented the country at both football and cricket.

___

11:55 a.m.

Jamie Joseph gets to do what no other coach of the Japan national team has ever done at a Rugby World Cup when he announces his squad Friday for the quarterfinal match against South Africa.

Japan is hosting the Rugby World Cup for the first time in Asia, and has reached the knockout stage for the first time after topping Pool A with wins over Ireland, Scotland, Samoa and Russia.

Two-time champion South Africa placed second in Pool B after an opening loss to the defending champion All Blacks. Despite South Africa’s big win in a warmup match last month against Japan, it’s the game four years ago that is getting most attention before this Sunday’s quarterfinal at Tokyo Stadium. Japan’s win over the Springboks at Brighton in 2015 was the biggest shocker ever at the tournament.

This time, the Japan team knows it won’t be sneaking up on any teams.

Wales and France will also confirm their lineups for their quarterfinal meeting in Oita on Sunday.

In the first of the quarterfinals on Saturday, Australia and England will meet in Oita and New Zealand will play Ireland in Tokyo.

___

More AP Rugby World Cup: https://www.apnews.com/RugbyWorldCup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide