Racing 92 bounced back on Sunday from their opening-round defeat in the Top 14, but reigning champions Toulouse suffered a second successive loss.

A surprise reverse against promoted Bayonne represented a poor start to Racing's campaign, one the Parisian side appeared eager to atone for as they started strongly at home to Castres.

Fabien Sanconnie and Antoine Gibert crossed for tries inside the first 11 minutes and Racing remained in front thereafter, triumphing 23-14.

Their win would have been more emphatic had Geoffrey Palis not gone over for Castres in the 79th minute.

After losing to Bordeaux-Begles last weekend, Toulouse went down 22-12 to Lyon in their latest match.

Noa Nakaitaci scored the only try of the contest after seven minutes, with four Jonathan Wisniewski penalties and one from Charlie Ngatai enough to secure success for the hosts despite the dismissal of Loann Goujon on the hour.

 

Wales coach Warren Gatland has named Rhys Patchell and the injured Cory Hill in his 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, but Rob Evans and Samson Lee have missed out.

Doubt over Hill's place in the squad intensified on Saturday, when Gatland said it was "up for debate" whether the 24-cap lock, who has missed all the warm-up games with a leg fracture, would be chosen.

Hill, however, will go to Japan, with the 27-year-old selected despite being likely to miss the opening games of Wales' campaign.

Joining Hill is Patchell, despite Jarrod Evans starting at number 10 in Wales' defeat to Ireland on Saturday.

Scarlets front-rowers Evans and Lee – who had looked to be potential starters for the tournament – are surprise omissions, with Rhys Carre coming into a group of five props.

Owen Watkin makes the cut instead of Scott Williams, while Hallam Amos will travel at the expense of Owen Lane.

"Selection is always the toughest part of the job and that is especially true come Rugby World Cup time," said Gatland, who will leave his post after the tournament.

"Reducing the squad down to 31 has been extremely hard especially when you look at the depth we have created and the amount of the work the training squad have put in, for some, 14 weeks of training.

"We are really happy with the final 31, we feel there is an excellent blend to the squad, in terms of talent, experience and age profile and we are all incredibly excited about heading to Japan and what lies ahead."

Wales face Ireland again in Dublin in their final warm-up match on Saturday, before their Rugby World Cup campaign begins with a clash against Georgia on September 23.

Wales Rugby World Cup squad in full:

Forwards: Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Rhys Carre, James Davies, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Ross Moriarty, Josh Navidi, Ken Owens, Aaron Shingler, Nicky Smith, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright.

Back: Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Dan Biggar, Aled Davies, Gareth Davies, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Hadleigh Parkes, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin, Liam Williams, Tomos Williams.

Bayonne could not follow up their opening-day win over Racing 92 with another Top 14 victory despite an outstanding first half at home to Clermont Auvergne on Saturday.

The newly promoted side had announced themselves back in the top flight with an impressive maiden triumph and it initially appeared as though they would make it two from two this week.

However, Clermont, last season's runners up, rallied to win 34-30.

The visitors were stunned by a pair of early tries from Maxime Lamothe and Peyo Muscarditz.

Clermont followed up four first-half penalties with a try of their own through George Moala to briefly lead but they trailed heading into the interval thanks to Julien Tisseron's five-pointer.

Last week Bayonne improved after half-time, yet this time their fortunes took a turn for the worse and Guillaume Rouet swiftly went into the sin bin.

The hosts still held on for a time, but Apisai Naqalevu and Charlie Cassang crossed to take the game out of Bayonne's reach.

There was first-half entertainment between La Rochelle and Stade Francais too, with four tries and two yellow cards - all shared evenly between the sides - before the break.

La Rochelle clung on to win 28-26 despite a pair of tries for Stade in the final five minutes.

Montpellier played for close to an hour with just 14 men but still ran in a big 43-22 success against Pau.

Youri Delhommel, who opened the scoring, was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Antoine Hastoy, yet that did not slow Montpellier and their task was made easier late in the second half by two Pau yellow cards in as many minutes.

Elsewhere, Agen kept Brive waiting for their first victory back in the Top 14, winning 16-10, while Bordeaux-Begles saw off Toulon 34-12.

Rory Hutchinson scored two tries on his first Test start as Scotland cruised to a 44-10 victory over Georgia in their Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Tbilisi.

In the last game before coach Gregor Townsend names his final squad of 31 on Tuesday, Hutchinson boosted his chances of tournament selection with a fine display that helped Scotland to their first away win in 14 months.

Prior to the match, Townsend and star man Finn Russell defended the decision to name a strong XV for the contest, despite losing Sam Skinner for the World Cup in an injury picked up in last week's home win over France.

While there were 10 changes, Hamish Watson, Greig Laidlaw and Russell all started, while hooker Stuart McInally returned to captain a side containing many players expected to be on the plane to Japan.

Scotland, the first tier-one nation to play a Test in Georgia, produced a much better performance than in their last away game, the humbling 32-3 defeat to France in Nice for which they took revenge in Edinburgh.

They led Georgia 23-3 at the interval after Ben Toolis and Hutchinson dotted down inside the first 19 minutes.

They raced clear in the second half, with centre Hutchinson scoring his second before Darcy Graham and Scott Cummings went over, the latter getting his first international try.

Laidlaw had 15 points with his boot to supplement a five-try display, with Karlen Asieshvili scoring Georgia's only try just before the hour mark.

Warren Gatland acknowledged six positions in Wales' Rugby World Cup squad are still to be decided in the wake of their final warm-up match, with Cory Hill a doubt due to a leg fracture.

Wales' squad for the tournament in Japan is set to be announced on Sunday and Gatland's players were given one final opportunity to impress against Ireland on Saturday.

However, they were beaten 22-17 in Cardiff after a poor first-half showing.

The performances of certain individuals still appeared to give Gatland much to ponder, though, as he confirmed his plans to debate Wales' various options.

"We're going back to the hotel tonight to sit down and it'll take a few hours," he told a news conference. "There are probably six positions really up for debate."

Gatland confirmed Hill's inclusion was one issue that was still to be settled, revealing the 24-cap lock has been absent from the warm-up games due to a leg fracture.

"Our big discussion tonight is with Cory Hill," he explained. "He's got a fracture in his leg.

"We scanned yesterday [Friday] and he has a very small fracture which will probably keep him out until game two or three. It'll be a big discussion point as to whether we take him or not."

Another area of contention would appear to be at fly-half, where Jarrod Evans started against Ireland before Rhys Patchell came off the bench to score a smart late try.

Gatland insisted Patchell's role in Wales' attempted second-half fightback would not necessarily give him the edge over Evans.

"There's no doubt that Rhys came on and did a good job," the head coach said. "But it's a hell of a lot easier coming off the bench when there's no pressure on you.

"It was hard for Jarrod in the first half when the team isn't going as well as it could."

Saturday's defeat means Wales, the world's top-ranked side, will fall to number four in next week's update.

Ireland did not do enough with a narrow margin of victory to take top spot in the rankings, but they will climb to second as New Zealand return to the summit.

Next week's remaining warm-up fixtures are set to decide who will head to the World Cup as the number-one team.

Ireland bounced back from last week's dismal defeat to England with a much-improved display and a 22-17 win in Wales in their latest Rugby World Cup warm-up.

Jacob Stockdale scored twice in the first half to secure bragging rights for the Irish in the first match of a double-header between the sides across consecutive weekends.

The display was extremely encouraging considering what had gone before for Joe Schmidt's side, although they were kept off the top of the rankings, having needed a 15-point victory against the world's number one side.

A late flourish from Wales in Warren Gatland's final home match could not quite complete a comeback.

Ireland's improvement was evident from the off and Jack Carty kicked the game's first points after nine minutes, although Jarrod Evans - making his first Test start - levelled the scores for Wales with a penalty in front of the posts.

Opportunities in open play were initially few and far between until a glorious weaving run from Andrew Conway created the opening try.

The winger raced away from three challenges and then unselfishly passed to Stockdale on the left to dash through.

And Stockdale had his second before the break as he preyed on a loose Wales pass and toed the ball clear of the recovering red shirts to dart across the line.

Wales enjoyed a better spell immediately after half-time but were soon on the back foot again and saw Leon Brown sent to the sin bin following a collapsed scrum as Ireland piled on the pressure.

A blatant forward pass denied Conway a try on the right, yet there was no let-up and Rory Best helped drive Wales back to secure a penalty try following a series of re-set scrums.

The home side belatedly got a breakthrough try with some lovely footwork from Owen Lane, with Ireland then suddenly hanging on as Elliot Dee lunged just short of the try-line.

Bundee Aki's challenge on an airborne James Davies meant Garry Ringrose's counter-attacking score was struck off, and Rhys Patchell's impressive late try could not rescue a Welsh result.

France gave coach Jacques Brunel plenty of food for thought ahead of the Rugby World Cup as they thumped Italy 47-19 in Paris on Friday.

A seven-try show from the home side masked disappointing spells in the game for France, who do not yet look like a side that could challenge for glory at the global tournament in Japan.

Brunel's starting XV for the Stade de France clash showed nine changes in personnel from the side beaten in their previous game by Scotland, as they chased an eighth straight win in their rivalry with Italy.

Maxime Medard fed Yoann Huget to score France's opening try in just the third minute, but Les Bleus put themselves in trouble when they lost their early composure and had both Louis Picamoles and Rabah Slimani sin-binned in quick succession.

Mattia Bellini crossed as Italy took advantage, and Tommaso Allan added the extras to put the visitors in front, albeit still early in the contest.

Italy were the next to be penalised, with Bellini yellow-carded for hauling down Huget off the ball. France were handed a penalty try, and it was briefly a game of 13 players against 14.

Camille Chat grounded the ball for another France try shortly after the half-hour mark, and they led 19-7 at half-time.

Scrum-half Antoine Dupont was next to cross, threading his way through to the line, and France were rampant early in the second half as Arthur Iturria barrelled over for another, his first for the team.

Jake Polledri replied for Italy only for Wenceslas Lauret to counter for France as the tries kept coming, the hosts going 40-14 up by the hour.

Bellini narrowed the gap, but it was France's night and their seventh and final try arrived when Thomas Ramos spotted a gap and darted through from a central position before diving over in the left corner.

France begin their World Cup campaign with a tricky test against Argentina on September 21. Italy, meanwhile, start against Namibia a day later.

Wales' Josh Navidi has vowed to embrace the captaincy role against Ireland on Saturday having been handed the chance to lead his country for the first time.

Ireland visit the Principality Stadium for Wales' final match on home soil before the Rugby World Cup, with head coach Warren Gatland ringing the changes.

He announced 14 alterations to his starting XV following the victory over England, with Navidi one of those coming into the team.

It caps a fine rise for the Cardiff Blues back-rower, who has only played 17 times for his country.

"It is a massive honour. I've had loads of messages from people, which is nice. My family are ecstatic as well, and it will be nice to lead the team out," Navidi said on Friday.

"Gats [Gatland] came up to me after a units session and asked me would I like to lead the team. It's something you can't turn down, really.

"I will try and keep the emotions down. It's another game of rugby, but obviously nice to lead the team out, embrace the moment and then get into it.

"I am not much of a talker, to be honest. Hopefully, I can lead from the front, and everyone else will follow.

"As a youngster I captained Bridgend Athletic, and my school. I have done it a bit with the Blues over the years too.

"Alun Wyn [Jones], I have played quite a lot with him recently, and obviously Gethin Jenkins and Matthew Rees at the Blues, and it's little things you pick up on through them. It just brings your game forward, and hopefully I can pass it on to others.

"But to be honest, I have never thought about it [being captain], with the leaders in the group with Wales.

"You have got Alun Wyn, Ken Owens and Jonathan Davies, who are massive figures in the team, and it's something that I've never thought I would come across - I thought just getting the red jersey is enough - so it will be nice."

Wales will face Ireland again on September 7 in Dublin for their final pre-World Cup warm-up.

Their campaign begins 16 days later, against Georgia in Toyota City.

South Africa wing Aphiwe Dyantyi is facing a long-term suspension after being formally charged with a doping violation.

Dyantyi, who last week denied taking any prohibited substances, was provisionally banned after returning an adverse finding in a test at a Springboks training on July 2 and requested for his B-sample to be tested.

The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) said on Friday the B-sample indicated the presence of the same three banned anabolic steroids and metabolites: metandienone, methyltestosterone and LGD-4033.

The 25-year-old has the right to contest the charge in front of an independent disciplinary panel.

If found to have breached anti-doping regulations, the 2018 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year could receive a four-year ban.

Speaking last week, Dyantyi maintained his innocence after being made aware of the initial test results.

"I want to deny ever taking any prohibited substance, intentionally or negligently, to enhance my performance on the field. I believe in hard work and fair play," he said in a statement.

"I have never cheated and never will. The presence of this prohibited substance in my body has come as a massive shock to me and together with my management team and experts appointed by them, we are doing everything we can to get to the source of this and to prove my innocence."

Dyantyi has played 13 Tests for South Africa since making his debut against England at Ellis Park in June 2018 but was not included in the Rugby World Cup squad.

Warren Gatland has urged his Wales players to prove their Rugby World Cup credentials against Ireland and highlighted a shoot-out for the fly-half position.

Wales have made 14 changes for their warm-up fixture against Ireland at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, with Jarrod Evans getting the nod at number 10 and Rhys Patchell among the replacements.

Owen Lane and Rhys Carre will make their Test debuts as Josh Navidi captains the side in their final match before Gatland names his 31-man squad for the tournament in Japan.

James Davies is the only survivor from the team that beat England 13-6 on August 17, while Ireland come into the game following a 57-15 thrashing at the hands of Eddie Jones' side at Twickenham on Saturday.

"There are a number of positions still up for grabs. Players are well aware of how important this game is and the opportunity they have," said Gatland.

"They're under pressure after last week's performance so it's a great challenge for us.

"They're coming here knowing they've been criticised, they'll be hurting. I couldn't ask for a better game for this group of players."

On the race to compete with Dan Biggar for the fly-half position at the World Cup, Gatland added: "Jarrod gets an opportunity. We know a little bit more about Rhys Patchell, so the pressure is on him [Evans] and he understands that fully.

"It's about coming out, starting a game and controlling a game. Rhys will get the second half and it's about him coming on and making an impression.

"The two of them are aware they'll get the chance and it's probably a shoot-out between the two of them."

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has also rung the changes for the meeting in Cardiff, with Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony, Jacob Stockdale and Bundee Aki the only players to retain their spot.

Niall Scannell comes in for captain Rory Best, who is named among the replacements, while Johnny Sexton, Keith Earls and Robbie Henshaw miss out again.

 

Wales: Hallam Amos, Owen Lane, Scott Williams, Owen Watkin, Steff Evans, Jarrod Evans, Aled Davies; Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias, Samson Lee, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, Josh Navidi.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Jake Ball, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Jonah Holmes.

Ireland: Will Addison, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O'Mahony, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Rory Best, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, Luke McGrath, Garry Ringrose, Dave Kearney.

Rugby World Cup hosts Japan have named their squad for the tournament, with veteran Hiroshi Yamashita missing out but uncapped Takuya Kitade included.

Jamie Joseph announced his 31-man group for the finals on Thursday and included a number of stars of the 2015 World Cup under former boss Eddie Jones, though Yamashita was not among them.

The 33-year-old prop was one of 10 players cut from a 41-man training squad.

Yamashita went to the last World Cup in England, although he did not make it off the bench to take part in Japan's historic defeat of South Africa.

There are several familiar faces in Joseph's final list, though, with Michael Leitch again captaining the side.

Hooker Kitade is also selected, along with Pieter Labuschagne and James Moore, who are both relatively new to the squad having secured eligibility in June.

Japan play Russia in the opening game of this year's edition of the competition, on September 20. Ireland, Scotland and Samoa make up the rest of Pool A.

 

Japan's 31-man Rugby World Cup squad in full:

Forwards: Keita Inagaki, Yusuke Kizu, Jiwon Koo, Isileli Nakajima, Asaeli Ai Valu, Takuya Kitade, Atsushi Sakate, Shota Horie, Luke Thompson, Wimpie van der Walt, Uwe Helu, James Moore, Hendrik Tui, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Michael Leitch, Pieter Labuschagne, Kazuki Himeno, Amanaki Lelei Mafi.

Backs: Kaito Shigeno, Fumiaki Tanaka, Yutaka Nagare, Yu Tamura, Rikiya Matsuda, Kenki Fukuoka, Ataata Moeakiola, Lomano Lava Lemeki, William Tupou, Ryoto Nakamura, Timothy Lafaele, Kotaro Matsushima, Ryohei Yamanaka.

Israel Folau is claiming Rugby Australia has enforced "an unreasonable restraint of trade", according to a statement of claim lodged with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Folau, a devout Christian, had his contract terminated for a "high-level breach" after he posted "hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" on Instagram.

Rugby Australia and Folau failed to reach a settlement in June over the full-back's sacking and an unfair dismissal case began in court earlier this month.

A statement of claim published by the Federal Circuit Court showed Folau is stating his inability to play international rugby due to the termination of his contract constitutes "unreasonable restraint", referring to "public policy".

It also suggests the direction of a tribunal was "void" and there was an "absence of any valid finding".

A section of the 26-page document reads: "The decision of the tribunal that termination of the player contract was the appropriate sanction to be imposed, and its direction to that effect, has the consequence that Mr Folau can no longer play rugby union at an international level [because he is only eligible to play for the Wallabies] or an Australian team in the Super Rugby competition and is therefore an unreasonable restraint of trade, contrary to public policy, and void.

"By reason of the decision and subsequent direction of the tribunal being void and of no effect, it was a breach of the player contract for Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW to terminate the player contract in the absence of any valid finding by the tribunal."

Another part of the statement adds: "It is injurious and inimical to the public interest, and therefore against public policy, for a condition in a contract of employment to allow an employer to prohibit an employee, in their own time, from having or adopting any religion or belief, manifesting their religion or belief or imparting or sharing religious information and ideas, provided that the employee otherwise acts lawfully.

"Insofar as any term of the player contract, including any term of the code of conduct, prohibited Mr Folau, in his own time, from manifesting his religion or belief or from imparting or sharing religious information and ideas, provided he acted lawfully, the term - to the extent that it otherwise would have had such an operation and effect - was against public policy and therefore void at law and of no effect.

"In the premises, under the player contract, Mr Folau was free, in his own time, to manifest his religion or belief or to impart or share religious information and ideas, provided he acted lawfully, and as a consequence, the social media posts were not a breach of the player contract by Mr Folau."

In an open letter to Rugby Australia members in June, Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle wrote: "I want to make clear that RA has acted with complete professionalism and integrity at all times through the process by which Israel was found, by an independent three-member tribunal panel, to have made multiple, serious breaches of the professional players code of conduct.

"This is an employment matter and does not concern his religious beliefs or his ability to express them freely. If some of you follow Israel's social accounts, you will have noticed he has posted religious material freely and openly over the last few years."

The case will go to mediation in December but, if a resolution is not found, the parties could face trial in February.

Brian O'Driscoll is concerned by Ireland's form a month out from the Rugby World Cup but believes they can swiftly turn their fortunes around.

Ireland were the dominant team in world rugby in 2018, winning the Six Nations Grand Slam and defeating world champions New Zealand.

But this year has been a different story, with a humbling 57-15 reverse to England in Saturday's World Cup warm-up at Twickenham providing cause for concern.

Yet former Ireland star O'Driscoll is backing Joe Schmidt's men to respond, potentially starting with back-to-back fixtures against Wales before the tournament in Japan.

"It's concerning in that you would prefer to be playing with huge confidence," O'Driscoll, a Land Rover ambassador, told Omnisport.

"In the first warm-up games, you have a stuffy victory against Italy and then a resounding defeat to England, who just looked like a completely different level.

"Of course, I'd be concerned that the confidence appears to have taken a dent and you want to go in [to the World Cup] feeling as though you can play your best rugby or you have your best rugby in close parameters to where you're at. That doesn't seem to be the case at the moment.

"But sport can be fickle and it can turn around very, very quickly as well. We saw the All Blacks beaten badly by Australia and coming around the following week and hammering them at home, nilling them. You can turn it around.

"What I'm sure will disappoint Joe Schmidt the most is that the lads just didn't seem like the same accuracy and same levels expected of them were delivered at the weekend.

"But they have a chance this weekend of putting that right. That's the beauty of having a game the following week after a big defeat."

If Ireland can rediscover some confidence, O'Driscoll suggests recent results should not quell optimism ahead of the World Cup.

"It's happened with New Zealand for a number of World Cups, where they've peaked in between and not quite been able to manage it on the biggest stage," he said.

"That's the question with Ireland now, they've not quite delivered at a World Cup level. But that doesn't mean this time [they] can't turn that around.

"It's not ideal preparation so far, but the way the group works, playing Scotland and Japan - they're capable of winning both of those games and also the two other games [against Russia and Samoa].

"Finish top of the group and you have the game of your life against New Zealand or South Africa - win that and you're in a semi-final.

"That really simplifies it, but any team will tell you, get to a semi-final and of course you're capable of winning a World Cup. You're one game away from playing in a World Cup final."

 

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Jamie Heaslip is confident Rory Best is the right man to lead Ireland and will prove his worth as the pressure builds heading into the Rugby World Cup.

Captain Best's role has come under scrutiny this year as Ireland have failed to build on an outstanding 2018 in which they won the Six Nations Grand Slam and then defeated world champions New Zealand.

Joe Schmidt's men finished third in the 2019 Six Nations and then, in last week's World Cup warm-up, crashed to a record loss against England.

But 95-cap former Ireland international Heaslip, who played with Best, is confident the skipper will take the right approach following that reverse, calmly rallying the side as they face Wales in consecutive weeks before travelling to the tournament in Japan.

Best has confirmed he will retire from professional rugby following the World Cup.

"Rory's come in for a lot of criticism, particularly over the last week," Heaslip, a Land Rover ambassador, told Omnisport.

"But you look back at his tenure now – I think it's three years he's been captain – and the success of that team while he's been at the helm.

"Ireland have beaten every Tier 1 nation in the last two years. That type of consistency shows the leadership he's obviously showing day in day out in that camp.

"He would have been disappointed with his own performance last week and will be very eager to get another opportunity – just like every other player in that matchday squad from last week – to showcase what he can do on the field.

"And I would imagine his leadership qualities are coming out in full force this week, in terms of being up against it and the performance not being good enough.

"They were exploited by the other team, the pressure is starting to pile up, and it takes a really calm, level-headed person – just like Rory is – to this week get the players together and focus on the new task.

"He will captain them in that way. That's where Rory will show his real value to the team."

Heaslip is not overly concerned by the team's form either, with the exception of a "one-off" against England, and believes performance levels are not too far from where they were last year.

"I think they're in the exact same position [as in 2018], if I'm honest," he said. "Less than 12 months ago, everyone was saying these guys were going to win the World Cup after beating New Zealand.

"If you actually look at the games, the margin of winning and losing is so fine.

"You look at the first game of 2018, straight out of the gate, they don't score any tries, kick all the points, France score a try against them, and if it wasn't for a 41-phase drop goal effort from the halfway line – you couldn't write this stuff – they don't win the Six Nations, they don't win the Grand Slam.

"In 2019, you could say the same thing where the margin for the opposition to win the game is not that big. The margin for losing at international level is so fine.

"I think Ireland have actually been very consistent over the last 18 months, two years, the past World Cup cycle even. I think they're in exactly the same position. They're a bloody good team."

 

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England prop Mako Vunipola will be sidelined for around 10 days with minor hamstring complaint.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) confirmed Vunipola sustained "a small tear of scar tissue" while featuring as a second-half replacement during Saturday's 57-15 win over Ireland at Twickenham.

News of a small setback comes as a relative boost to England coach Eddie Jones after the Saracens front row was ruled out for three months with a hamstring injury in May – the Ireland game marking his return to action.

Exeter Chiefs' Ben Moon will join up with the squad at their training base in Treviso as a temporary replacement.

Moon's club team-mate Jack Nowell could miss the Rugby World Cup as he battles to overcome an ankle problem

Nowell has not featured in any of England's three warm-up Tests to date and was named in the 31-man squad despite suffering his injury during the Premiership final defeat to Saracens in June.

"I think he's going to be touch and go for involvement in the World Cup," Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon.

"But let's cross our fingers and hope that he can come through."

England play their final warm-up game against Italy at St James' Park next Friday before heading to Japan two days later on September 8.

Jones' men begin their World Cup campaign against Tonga on September 22.

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