Thursday Rugby World Cup Update

Thursday Rugby World Cup Update

It's been a busy day in Japan with Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Argentina and France all confirming their line ups for the weekend.

We take you through all the line ups, latest news, quotes, opinions and stats in today's Update from Japan.

New Zealand v South Africa

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: "Any combination of players in our squad could have justified their selection.  But in the end we believe the 23 we have selected is the right group for this opposition."

"In today's rugby environment, you need to have the mindset that it's not just about who starts, it's also about what the players coming off the bench can provide. As an example, we have a great one-two punch with Dane and Codie at hooker and Aaron and TJ at halfback."

Quick Stats:

- Beauden Barrett starts at fullback for the fourth time this year. Prior to 2019 he last started there in 2013

- 16 of the All Blacks starting 23 featured in the drawn test against the Springboks in Wellington earlier this year


Australia v Fiji

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has named his team to take on Fiji. David Pocock will start at blindside flank with Michael Hooper captaining the side in the #7 jersey.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “Our goal is to win. I’m sure every team comes to every World Cup believing they can win, and that’s what makes it such a great tournament.

Fiji head coach John McKee has named a powerhouse 23 to face Australia in their opening Pool D match against Australia with Semi Radradra starting on the wing.

Quick Stats:

- The starting side boasts 600 caps of Test experience between them with a further 436 caps amongst the reserves.

- David Pocock will start in the number six jersey for the first time since November 2016. He will become the fourth Wallaby to have started in the number six, seven and eight jerseys in the World Cup

- Six players in Fiji's starting line-up also started the last time the Flying Fijians took on Australia in a World Cup match, on 23 September, 2015.



France v Argentina

France coach Jacques Brunel head coach has backed the Toulouse halfback pairing of Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack while Wesley Fofana misses the clash and is replaced by Virimi Vakatawa who starts alongside Gael Fickou.

Romain Ntamack is the son of Émile Ntamack, who featured for France at wing and centre in 11 RWC matches in 1995 and 1999.

Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma has named a strong side to take on France, Pablo Matera leads the side in the six jersey and is accompanied by youngster Marcos Kremer and Javier Ortega Desio.

Former captain Agustin Creevy packs down the middle of the front row


Quick Stats:

Guilhem Guirado is the only France starter that also started in the 62-13 defeat by New Zealand in the quarter-finals at RWC 2015. Bernard Le Roux started in that match and is on the French bench now. 

- Veterans Guilhem Guirado and Louis Picamoles are both set to appear in a third World Cup. In this sense, they are the most experienced players in France's squad.

- As a player, Mario Ledesma appeared in a record 18 World Cup matches for Los Pumas.

- Guido Petti makes his 50th appearance for Argentina.



I've had better birthdays, says Gatland after Howley's Wales exit

Head coach Warren Gatland was forced to absorb a potentially damaging blow to his squad on his 56th birthday – something he made light of a Wednesday news conference where he praised the players' togetherness and discussed former Wales fly-half Stephen Jones coming in as Howley's replacement.



Rugby World Cup 2019: Japan v Russia

Ambitious Japan coach Jamie Joseph is eyeing history as the hosts prepare to kick-off the Rugby World Cup against Russia in Tokyo on Friday.

The Brave Blossoms caused an almighty stir at the tournament four years ago by defeating giants South Africa 34-32 in one of the biggest shocks in the sport's history.


Selecting a RWC 2019 XV with just one player from a country


The experts' tips for success in Japan


The miracle of Brighton - How beating the Springboks set the stage for Japan

10 Best Individual RWC Performances in History!

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