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.


Police want Liverpool title decider in neutral stadium

Updated 48 min 37 sec ago

Police want Liverpool title decider in neutral stadium

  • The move aims to prevent fans from gathering outside when the competition resumes

MANCHESTER, England: Liverpool might not win the English Premier League at Anfield after police included the leader’s key games among at least five it wants at neutral venues in a bid to prevent fans from gathering outside when the competition resumes.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp hopes authorities will allow them to play at home as planned, with supporters adhering to advice while they are prevented from attending games due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Police originally wanted neutral venues for all 92 remaining games but the plan was opposed by the clubs — particularly those trying to avoid relegation.
The league plans to resume on June 17 after a 100-day shutdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic, pending final approval from government, which is trying to prevent a second spike in cases.
Police don’t object to the games on that Wednesday night being played at Manchester City and Aston Villa.
But police want the derby between Everton and Liverpool to be played away from Merseyside a few days later. The game was originally scheduled at Goodison Park. Liverpool, which leads by 25 points with nine games remaining, could clinch the title by beating Everton if second-placed City loses to Arsenal on June 17.
If the 30-year title drought doesn’t end that day, police want Liverpool’s next game, against Crystal Palace, to be played away from Anfield.
Greater Manchester Police have already determined Liverpool’s third game back against Manchester City should be staged away from Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool’s fourth game back is against Aston Villa, currently scheduled at Anfield.
The same Manchester force wants City’s game against Newcastle and Manchester United’s home game against Sheffield United played outside of the northwest location.
Police in Newcastle also don’t want the home game against Liverpool to be played at St. James’ Park on the final day of the season, which could be July 26.
Mark Roberts, the head of football policing in England, said the plans will remain under review but are based on public health demands.
“We have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimizing the demand on policing,” said Roberts, the football policing lead at the National Police Chiefs’ Council. “The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested.”
One obvious neutral venue is Wembley Stadium in north London which is not the home of any club side.
“This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums,” Roberts said.
Even without a vaccine for COVID-19, fans could return to games next season, which is due to begin in September.
“There is optimism at the Premier League and at clubs that we will see fans back in the stadiums next season,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told Sky Sports TV, “and it may happen on a phased basis.”
Only 200 of the 380 Premier League games each season are contracted to be broadcast live in Britain, but all remaining fixtures will be aired live because fans will not be allowed in stadiums.
The reshaped English season is set to end with the FA Cup final on Aug. 1.
The Football Association on Friday announced its competition will provisionally resume with the quarterfinals on the weekend of June 27-28. The semifinals are now scheduled for July 18-19.
“This has been a difficult period for many people and, while this is a positive step, the restart date is dependent on all safety measures being met,” FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said.
Though the COVID-19 deaths per day have fallen in Britain since early April, another 377 were still reported on Thursday, bringing the known death toll in all settings including hospitals and care homes to 37,837.