RWC 2019

Horwill fancies Australia's chances

The Wallabies have lost six consecutive games against England since knocking them out of the previous World Cup at Twickenham four years ago.

Eddie Jones' side are firm favourites to continue that sequence at Oita Stadium on Saturday and set up a semi-final against two-time defending champions New Zealand or Ireland. 

Yet former Australia captain Horwill thinks Michael Cheika's men can defy the odds and lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time.

Japan team inspired by 'Mr Rugby' Hirao

Former Japan captain and head coach Hirao – nicknamed "Mr Rugby" in his homeland – died three years ago this Sunday aged 53 after a battle with cancer.

Full-back Ryohei Yamanaka played under Hirao, who represented the Brave Blossoms at the 1987, 1991 and 1995 World Cup, at Kobe Steelers.

"[The quarter-final] is the date he passed away, so there'll be a game on an important day for me as well," he said.

Japan's scrum coach Shin Hasegawa was handed his international breakthough by Hirao during his playing days.

All Blacks team to play Ireland named

The in-form Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue will partner in the midfield in an otherwise experienced All Blacks line up.

Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Nepo Laulala make up the front row, Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock are the starting locks, while Ardie Savea, Sam Cane and Kieran Read are the loose forward trio.

Aaron Smith has been named the starting halfback, Richie Mo'unga at first five, George Bridge and Sevu Reece are on the wings and Beauden Barrett is at fullback.

Hansen happy to avoid in-form Japan

Tournament hosts Japan qualified for the knockout stages for the first time in their history, Sunday's hard-fought victory over Scotland also seeing them finish top of Pool A.

The 28-21 result means the Brave Blossoms next face South Africa, who were second in Pool B, rather than New Zealand, with the two-time reigning champions instead going up against Ireland. 

Pleased to avoid one of the in-form teams still left standing, Hansen praised the way Japan's players had lifted their nation after the devastation caused by Typhoon Hagibis.

All Blacks need to step up - Read

The All Blacks will face Ireland on Saturday night in Tokyo for a place in the semifinals.

Read said knockout rugby is the ultimate leveller and while some teams are in better form than others, that won't necessarily mean those teams will win this weekend.

The teams that will progress to the final four will be the one's who're mentally strong and handle the pressure best during crucial moments in the quarterfinals.

"The eight teams are capable of winning the Cup physically.

Jones content with cancellation

England were set to play their final Pool C match in Yokohama on Saturday, but with Typhoon Hagibis set to make landfall, the game - along with New Zealand's meeting with Italy - has been called off. Japan's crunch Pool A contest with Scotland on Sunday is also under threat.

Although Jones is disappointed the France match will not go ahead, he said the extra time to prepare for a quarter-final against Australia or Wales has given his side a fantastic opportunity to be at their best in the knockout stage.

Typhoon Hagibis set to wreck Ireland's quarter-finals hopes

A typhoon-watch warning has been issued for their final pool game against Samoa in Fukuoka on Saturday night.

Typhoon Hagibis is developing off the south coast of Japan, and could bring heavy rain and high winds this weekend.

If the match is called off, the two sides would share the points, taking Ireland's quarter-final ambitions out of their hands.

Should Scotland beat Russia with a bonus point and follow that with victory over Japan, the Irish would miss the playoffs and a potential final-eight showdown with the All Blacks. 

All Blacks run rampant to thrash Namibia

The bonus point was secured before halftime and although there might be concern at yellow cards shown to Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tuungafasi for high tackles, the All Blacks look in ominous form heading into their last pool match against Italy.

Outstanding centre Anton Lienert-Brown, flying winger Sevu Reece and fullback Ben Smith all scored two tries and utility Jordie Barrett, starting at five eighth in a Test for the first time, also crossed and kicked eight conversions.

Namibia fans relish brief lead over All Blacks

For the briefest of moments Namibia could enjoy the feeling of being ahead of New Zealand at 3-0, and the score remained close throughout the first half.

It was this half of the match that Namibia fans chose to dwell on, including the captain, Johan Deysel's family, who were among the crowd.

"We've got a fantastic first half, we are quite proud about our first half and our boys put their bodies on the line", said Johan senior. "We are not a professional team, they've got a lot of amateurs and we knew that the second half they [NZ] were going to be tough."

South Africa v Italy

The Springboks are third in Pool B, behind leaders Italy and New Zealand after losing to the All Blacks in their first match of the tournament.

South Africa responded to their loss to the defending champions by thumping Namibia 57-3 and will be expected to get the better of an Azzurri side who have taken maximum points from their two matches.