The All Blacks produced a dominant second half to thrash Namibia 71-9 at the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

After a sloppy start, New Zealand improved after the break in Chofu on their way to a third win in as many games in Pool B.

Anton Lienert-Brown, Sevu Reece and Ben Smith crossed for two tries apiece as the All Blacks went over 11 times.

The two-time defending champions – who had Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tu'ungafasi sin-binned during their win – scored seven tries in the second half, a much-needed response after their struggles in the opening 40 minutes.

Namibia made a bright start and Damian Stevens kicked them into a shock early lead.

The All Blacks responded immediately as Reece easily took a Jordie Barrett kick to the right wing before scoring.

New Zealand were sloppy during the first half, making numerous errors, but Lienert-Brown stretched their lead in the 20th minute when he powered to the line after a pass inside from Ardie Savea.

A couple of Stevens penalties followed for Namibia before Nepo Laulala was sent to the sin bin for a high shot on Lesley Klim.

But the All Blacks struck twice more before half-time through Angus Ta'avao and Smith, before Joe Moody powered over to make it 29-9 shortly after the break.

New Zealand were finally starting to find their rhythm and Lienert-Brown went over again on the right, Barrett throwing the final pass after his initial break.

Reece went over for his second try and the All Blacks' seventh before captain Sam Whitelock crashed over from close range with 25 minutes remaining.

A brilliant pass from Lienert-Brown helped set up Smith for the full-back to bag a double before New Zealand received another yellow card for a high tackle, this time to Tu'ungafasi.

Barrett scored a deserved try late on as he took his individual tally to 21 points before TJ Perenara capped off the victory with a superb finish in the corner after a behind-the-back pass from Brad Weber.

 

Retallick's return gives All Blacks another boost

Brodie Retallick made his first appearance since dislocating his shoulder in July to give the All Blacks another boost. The lock got through half an hour before being replaced, New Zealand surely managing his minutes as he regains fitness.

Devastating second half what New Zealand needed

The All Blacks were well below their best in the first half, their errors helping keep Namibia in the game. But they delivered after the break, improved handling, speed and their physicality seeing them score seven second-half tries to produce a performance closer to the one most were expecting.

What's next?

The All Blacks wrap up their pool stage against Italy on Saturday, while Namibia face Canada a day later.

South Africa have made 13 changes to their starting side to face Canada at the Rugby World Cup on Tuesday.

After losing to the All Blacks in their opener, the Springboks have claimed comfortable wins over Namibia (57-3) and Italy (49-3) in Pool B.

With just a four-day turnaround to their clash against Canada in Kobe, South Africa opted for changes.

Captain Siya Kolisi and centre Damian De Allende are making second straight starts, while nine players who featured against Namibia are starting.

Prop Thomas Du Toit and scrum-half Cobus Reinach are also starting, meaning every player in the squad will have started for the Springboks by the end of the pool stage.

"A four-day turnaround between Tests is a challenge but we had planned for it and will be well prepared," Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said.

"This match is just as important as the three that we have already played – it has the same number of log points available and the same impact on our chances of qualifying and we have to now complete the job."

 

South Africa: Damian Willemse, Warrick Gelant, Damian De Allende, Frans Steyn, Sbu Nkosi, Elton Jantjies, Cobus Reinach; Thomas Du Toit, Schalk Brits, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Francois Louw.
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Herschel Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Willie Le Roux.

Lyon moved five points clear at the summit of the Top 14 table with a thrilling 25-23 win over second-placed Bordeaux-Begles, while Castres thumped bottom side Stade Francais on Saturday.

The leaders maintained their 100 per cent record and consigned Bordeaux to a first defeat after rolling up their sleeves to come from behind in the second half.

Tries from Romain Buros and Yann Lesgourgues along with 10 points from Ben Botica's boot gave Bordeaux a 20-10 half-time lead.

Lyon rallied after the interval, Jean-Marcellin Buttin scoring his second try of the match before he was sin-binned and Jean-Marc Doussain touching down, then adding the extras to win it after Bordeaux's Jean Baptiste Dubie was shown a yellow card.

Castres piled more pressure on Stade head coach Heyneke Meyer with a resounding 46-16 victory.

There were tries for Thomas Combezou, Jullen Dumora, Geoffrey Palis and Camille Gerondeau as Stade suffered a fifth defeat out of six.

Champions Toulouse slumped to a 23-9 defeat at Brive, with Julien Blanc scoring a try in each half. 

Bayonne are up to third following a 29-27 win at Agen, Peyo Muscarditz claiming a quickfire first-half double, while Clermont Auvergne are just a point behind them in fourth after they were 20-13 winners at home to Montpellier.

 

Anthony Volmink helped himself to a hat-trick as the Cheetahs hammered Ulster 63-26, while Munster and Edinburgh also made it two Pro14 wins out of two on Saturday.

Ulster scored nine tries in a Conference A rout in Bloemfontein, wing Volmink completing his treble early in the second half after crossing twice in the opening 40 minutes.

The Cheetahs held a commanding 28-7 advantage at the break after Rhyno Smith and Joseph Dweba also touched down.

Smith went over again five minutes into the second half, while Louis Fouche and Reinach Venter touched down before the home side were awarded a late penalty try. Ruan Pienaar scored 12 points from the tee against his former club.

James Hume, Dave Shanahan and Craig Gilroy finished at the other end, but Ulster were well beaten by then.

Munster had a much better day in South Africa, beating Southern Kings 31-20 courtesy of tries from Mike Haley, Alby Mathewson, Fineen Wycherley and Arno Botha, as well as 11 points from the boot of JJ Hanrahan.

Mark Bennett scored the winning try nine minutes from time in Edinburgh's 19-11 success at Cardiff Blues, while the Dragons and Connacht were also victorious.

Jamie Joseph praised Japan's "never-say-die attitude" after two late tries clinched a bonus-point victory over Samoa, leaving them on the brink of creating history.

The tournament hosts moved back to the top of Pool A courtesy of a 38-19 triumph on Saturday, Kenki Fukuoka crossing in the 76th minute before Kotaro Matsushima touched down after the gong.

Matsushima's score was unbeaten Japan's fourth of the contest and moved them on to 14 points in the table, meaning they can win their group for the first time at a Rugby World Cup by beating Scotland next weekend.

"I'm really proud of our team, especially at the end," Joseph said after the dramatic finish.

"There was a never-say-die attitude, and we knew it was going to be a real physical battle and Samoa did not let us down. They were quite impressive given they had played a Test just four days ago.

"But, at the end of the day, the belief in our team has grown. I guess we will need that going into next week.

"Our preparation was good. We had a longer week, so a lot of talking and a lot of thinking. It was a very different week than preparing for Ireland."

Scotland face Russia prior to the crucial meeting with the Brave Blossoms in Yokohama, who may well find a bonus point in defeat to Gregor Townsend's side is enough to send them through to the last eight.

"I think our focus is to go out there and win the match – then things will take care of themselves," Joseph said on the scenarios for the final pool match.

"For the first time ever, Japan have put themselves in a position where they can top the pool. It's new territory for us.

"We go game by game. We will enjoy this win, then get back on the horse for what will be a really tough game against Scotland."

Japan flanker Pieter Labuschagne thanked a raucous home crowd at City of Toyota Stadium, with the support spurring the home team on to a late surge that could prove crucial in the final reckoning.

"It was hard work out there, it took us a long time. They're a quality side and showed it in the first half. Luckily in the last minute we got through for the bonus-point try," he told ITV Sport.

"There are a lot of leaders in this side, it makes it a lot easier. It's taking it moment for moment and trying to make the best call at that time.

"This crowd is truly amazing, especially the last 10 minutes, they dragged us through - they've been absolutely wonderful."

Eddie Jones will not consider resting key players for England's final Pool C fixture against "impressive" France, despite already securing a place in the quarter-finals.

England eased past 14-man Argentina on Saturday, with a 39-10 result at Tokyo Stadium securing them a third straight bonus-point win at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

They are now certain to go through from the group with a game to spare, though potentially face a showdown with France next Saturday to decide who will finish top of the table.

Les Bleus have also beaten Argentina and Jones expects a tough battle in Yokohama, particularly as their Six Nations rivals have seemingly gone back to their roots since Fabien Galthie joined the coaching staff.

"They [France] were impressive in the first game against Argentina," the England head coach told the media after the game with the Pumas.

"They played some great rugby and got two unstructured tries at the start of the game.

"They look like, with Galthie having an influence in their coaching, they are getting back to more of their game, a little bit of an offload and support game. We are going to have to work very hard defensively against them.

"The set-piece is always challenging against France, they have a particularly big team, so our preparations have to be spot on."

England know top spot will see them face the second-placed team in Pool D, which - if results run true to form - will be Australia. Yet Jones is only focused on France - and has no intention of letting his squad's standard slip.

"We are building. We want to get better next week. We will have a look at selection and pick the best 23 to get better," the Australian said.

"We don't want to look too far ahead - that's for you guys [in the media]. We don't get the luxury of doing that.

"We just worry about one day at a time. We've got to make sure we have a good recovery tomorrow and a walk-through, then we worry about the next day."

Billy Vunipola came off at half-time against Argentina and while initially joking it was due to too much Kobe beef, Jones revealed the forward had likely suffered a twisted ankle, adding: "I don't think it's too serious."

Kotaru Matsushima scored a late and potentially crucial bonus-point clinching try as Japan remained on track for a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals by winning 38-19 against Samoa.

Hosts Japan, who beat Russia comfortably and stunned Ireland in their opening Pool A games, made it three wins from as many matches in Toyota, moving back to the top of the table.

Timothy Lafaele and Kazuki Himeno touched down for Jamie Joseph's side either side of half-time, while Yu Tamura moved top of the World Cup scoring charts with 18 points off the boot.

Kenki Fukuoka went over in the right corner to cancel out Henry Taefu's 73rd-minute score, before Matsushima crashed in on the left after the gong to boost Japan's chances of making the knockout stages ahead of a crunch clash with Scotland.

Michael Cheika was unwilling to discuss high tackling by Australia after their 45-10 victory over Uruguay in Oita on Saturday.

A routine Pool D success for the Wallabies came despite first-half yellow cards for Adam Coleman and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, while Michael Hooper and Kurtley Beale were also penalised by referee Mathieu Raynal.

Tackling issues have been prevalent during Australia's campaign, with Reece Hodge handed a three-game ban for his challenge on Fiji's Peceli Yato in their opening match.

The Wallabies wing stated he had "no knowledge" of the new tackling framework after he was cited for the hit, which World Rugby said "was of some general concern" when dishing out the suspension.

Cheika was angered by the decision and that criticism and was unwilling to tread similar ground after Australia's meeting with Uruguay led to questions on tackling resurfacing.

"I think maybe we can talk about something else to be honest," said Cheika, who discussed the fact Australia conceded 12 penalties to Uruguay's five.

"We're just giving away too many penalties, full stop, no matter what it's for, you can't be winning the game by 45 and still lose the penalty count.

"One was for kicking the ball out of a ruck. That's a penalty and we know that. We have to tidy that up.

"But I'm not going to talk about tackles. I'm going to steer clear of that."

Dane Haylett-Petty and Tevita Kuridrani touched down either side of a try from 19-year-old debutant Jordan Petaia in the first half.

Haylett-Petty and Kuridrani went over again in the second period, with Will Genia and James Slipper also getting on the board in a bonus-point triumph.

Eddie Jones declared England are "exactly where we wanted to be" after securing a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with victory over Argentina on Saturday. 

Jones side' ran out comfortable 39-10 winners at Tokyo Stadium following a first-half red card for Tomas Lavanini, the Pumas second rower dismissed for a high challenge on England captain Owen Farrell. 

Ben Youngs scored one of his side's six tries on his 92nd appearance - taking him past Jonny Wilkinson to become his country's most-capped back - while substitute Jack Nowell also crossed on his return from injury. 

While admitting his team were a little rusty after two "easy" games in the group, head coach Jones was pleased to seal progression from Pool C with a game to spare. 

"We are exactly where we wanted to be," the Australian said. "We have 15 points after three games and have played in front of a fantastic crowd at Tokyo Stadium. 

"We were a bit rusty after two easy games and a long break - that came out in the first half. In the second half, we had a bit better rhythm." 

Youngs and Billy Vunipola did not appear for the second half, though Jones dismissed concerns over the latter's fitness. 

Asked if Vunipola was taken off as a precaution, he replied with a smile: "He had too much Kobe beef mate!" 

While England will expect to take on France next weekend in a battle to decide who will finish top of the table, Argentina are seemingly set to exit at the round-robin stage. 

Pumas head coach Mario Ledesma praised the way his players stuck to their task following the 17th-minute dismissal of Lavanini, with Matias Moroni running in a consolation try late in the second half. 

However, the defeat means Argentina now need Les Bleus to lose to Tonga if they are to have any hope of joining England in the last eight. 

"Obviously after the red card it became a little bit hard," Ledesma said. 

"We made many easy mistakes which we could have avoided, especially in the second half, we couldn't build momentum. 

"We were with a man less, so we needed clear ball. We had a couple of good plays that we couldn't do, and obviously in the second half it became too hard for the boys. 

"The commitment from them was incredible. It became too difficult, but that never stopped fighting." 

England secured their place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a game to spare as they brushed aside 14-man Argentina 39-10 at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday.

Jonny May had already crossed for the first of England's six tries when Tomas Lavanini saw red for a high tackle on Owen Farrell in the 17th minute.

The second-row led with the shoulder and also caught the England captain around the neck, leaving referee Nigel Owens with little choice but to send him off.

The dismissal came with the score at 5-3 but effectively ended the clash of the top-tier nations as a contest, with Eddie Jones' side capitalising on the extra space to run out comfortable winners.

Elliot Daly reached the line despite a juggling act with the ball, while Ben Youngs produced a burst from the base of a ruck before half-time, the scrum-half having also crossed against the Pumas in the 2011 tournament.

Farrell struggled with his kicking, missing his first four attempts at the posts in the first half to leave the score at 15-3, yet his profligacy off the tee was never going to prove costly in the final reckoning.

The centre did land the extras after George Ford forced his way over from close range and a further penalty made it 25-3 after 53 minutes, raising the possibility of a second-half avalanche of points from England.

Instead they eased up, allowing Argentina to grab a consolation try through Matias Moroni following an excellent line-out move.

Conceding sparked England into life again, though, as substitute Jack Nowell marked his first appearance back from injury with a smart finish in the right corner before the pack carried Luke Cowan-Dickie over the line.


Youngs at heart

Scrum-half Youngs marked his 92nd Test appearance - seeing him overtake Jonny Wilkinson to become the most-capped back for England - with a well-taken try.

Jones' squad were efficient rather than excellent, as has been the case in the World Cup so far, but it will be a major boost to see Nowell and prop Mako Vunipola - both on as second-half replacements - back in action.

Shouldering the blame

Argentina had fronted up during the first quarter, even taking the lead with a penalty from Benjamin Urdapilleta.

However, Lavanini's red ruined their hopes of an upset result that would have put the pool back in the balance. Now the Pumas seem certain to be returning home early with their tails between their legs.

What's next?

Top spot in Pool C will be up for grabs when England take on France in Yokohama next weekend. Argentina, meanwhile, complete their round-robin fixtures by facing the United States on Wednesday.

Jordan Petaia enjoyed a memorable debut as Australia bounced back from their loss to Wales with a 45-10 victory over Uruguay at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday.

The Wallabies could not afford a slip-up after going down to Wales in last week's Pool D blockbuster, and Australia returned to winning ways thanks to a bonus-point triumph.

Australia teenager Petaia capped his long-awaited international bow with a try as the Wallabies crossed seven times to one against a spirited Uruguay team in Oita.

The Wallabies – who made 12 changes for the match before James O'Connor was replaced by Samu Kerevi on the bench prior to kick-off – started fast, despite some desperate Uruguay defending.

Australia made the breakthrough in the sixth minute, with Kurtley Beale feeding Dane Haylett-Petty for an easy five-pointer in open space as Christian Lealiifano added the extras.

The Wallabies did not have it all their own way in the first half following two yellow cards, however, Australia appeared to play better with a man less on the field.

After Felipe Berchesi's penalty conversion and Adam Coleman's high tackle, Petaia burst through for a memorable try in the 24th minute – Beale's quick hands allowing the teenager to cross, with Lealiifano making no mistake in splitting the uprights.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto also found himself in the sin bin approaching the half-hour mark but Tevita Kuridrani sprinted clear to put Australia 19-3 ahead after Petaia fended off two players before teeing up his team-mate.

It could have been 19-10 at half-time but Tomas Inciarte's try was chalked off by TMO for offside after Uruguay had celebrated and lined up for the conversion.

Kuridrani scored his second try of the match to claim the bonus point, streaking clear after collecting the ball in the middle of the field six minutes into the second half.

Will Genia came off the bench to make it 31-3 to Australia eight minutes later, with Lealiifano adding the two points, before James Slipper barged his way over to end his wait for a Test try and Haylett-Petty claimed a double 12 minutes from time.

Uruguay's hard-fought display was rewarded with a with a try at the death – Manuel Diana capping a relentless spell of pressure and 18 phases.

 

A star is born

Petaia's debut was worth the wait. The Reds sensation – the youngest player to represent Australia at a World Cup – scored his first international try with his second touch of the match. Petaia also had a try assist in an impressive first half.

Slipper ends drought

Earning his 94th cap, Slipper had plenty to celebrate. The 30-year-old, who debuted in 2010, finally scored a try for the Wallabies as he was mobbed by his team-mates and given and a standing ovation by Australia's coaching staff.

What's next?

Australia will wrap up their group-stage campaign with a clash against Georgia in Fukuroi on October 11 before Uruguay meet Wales in Kumamoto two days later.

Ronan Kelleher enjoyed a memorable outing in Leinster's 53-5 Pro14 demolition of the Ospreys.

The 21-year-old hooker ran in his first tries in senior rugby to end the match with a hat-trick.

Fergus McFadden and Joe Tomane also claimed first-half scores, with Max Deegan, Harry Byrne and Michael Milne on hand to pile on more misery.

Ross Byrne added 11 points with the boot, while Harry Byrne kicked a conversion of his own, with Luke Morgan's 72nd-minute try scant consolation for the visitors.

An early second-half flurry proved decisive for the Scarlets as they held off Glasgow Warriors to claim a thrilling 25-21 triumph – joining Leinster in starting the season with back-to-back wins.

Kieran Hardy, Paul Asquith and Steff Evans all crossed in the space of six minutes shortly after the break for the Welsh region.

Brandon Thomson had kicked the hosts into a 9-6 lead before the onslaught began and the fly-half was integral to the Glasgow response when he converted his 64th-minute try.

Thomson could not add the extras when Stafford McDowall went over from Huw Jones' wonderful off-load and the Scarlets held on to their four-point advantage under sustained late pressure.

Steve Hansen says Jordie Barrett has the "swagger" to "boss the game" at fly-half when New Zealand face Namibia in the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

Barrett will don the famous All Blacks number 10 jersey for the first time in the Pool B encounter at Tokyo Stadium, where the defending champions should claim a bonus-point win to go top of Pool B and put one foot in the quarter-finals.

All three Barrett brothers scored tries in a 63-0 battering of Canada on Wednesday, making history by becoming the first siblings to play in the same New Zealand side at a World Cup.

Youngest brother Jordie has played as a full-back, centre and wing at international level, and New Zealand head coach Hansen says he can thrive as a makeshift fly-half in a much-changed side that will be captained by Sam Whitelock.

"I don't see him playing too often at 10," Hansen said. "But in the circumstances we've got, someone had to do it and he's our best choice.

"He's a back-three player, I think. As he gets older, he may end up in the midfield, but for me, he's a got a skillset ideally suited to the back three - he's got a big boot, he's good under the high ball, he's brave on the chase and he's got good handling skills.

"He's got plenty of swagger. That boy is not short of it. But I don't think you can mistake swagger or confidence for arrogance. He's not an arrogant boy, he's a humble kid.

"He'll be looking forward to it. I know he's excited by the challenge and he'll boss the game, because that's how he plays."

Fit-again lock Brodie Retallick will make his first appearance of the tournament for the holders.

Centre Johan Deysel returns to the starting line-up to lead a Namibia team which shows nine changes after the 57-3 thumping by South Africa.

First-choice fly-half Cliven Loubser plays no part as a result of an ankle injury suffered against the Springboks, so TC Kisting comes in at number 10.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New Zealand - Brodie Retallick

Retallick returns ahead of schedule after a 10-week absence caused by a dislocated left shoulder. Hansen says he has been "counting down the days" for what is set to be a short comeback, with an eye on making a bigger impact later in the tournament.

Namibia - Johan Deysel

Centre Deysel recovered from a shoulder injury to come off the bench against South Africa and the centre will want to make his presence felt in midfield, with fond memories of scoring against New Zealand in the last World Cup.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- New Zealand have won their last 16 World Cup matches, the longest run of victories by any side in the history of the tournament.

- Namibia have played the most World Cup matches of any side yet to win a match at the tournament, losing each of their 21 fixtures.

- The All Blacks have won 13 of the 32 World Cup matches that have been won by 60 points or more, after their drubbing of Canada.

- The two nations have met in just one Test, that clash coming at the Olympic Stadium in London at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with the All Blacks winning 58-14.

Lewis Moody thinks Agustin Creevy's "boring" jibe could fire England up to "take Argentina apart" in a Rugby World Cup showdown on Saturday.

Former Pumas captain Creevy took a swipe at the Pool C leaders' style of play ahead of a crunch clash at Tokyo Stadium.

Jamie George said Creevy, who will start on the bench, had clearly not been watching Eddie Jones' side and believes his fellow hooker was probably trying to "rattle" them.

Former England flanker Moody does not expect the favourites to fall into the trap of losing their discipline as a result of Creevy's remarks and feels the veteran's mind games may come back to haunt him.

Speaking on behalf of Land Rover, Official Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019, he told Omnisport: "England will probably revel in Creevy's comments because they are capable of scoring wonderful tries and they want to be fired up.

"They need that sort of energy to want to go and take Argentina apart and comments like that will only fan the flames of their desire to go and put one over on them."

Moody expects England to secure a third win out of three and seal their place in the quarter-finals.

The 2003 World Cup-winner added: "I am confident England have the strength in depth and the quality to deliver what they need.

"It's just whether they can weather the emotional storm that will come their way from Argentina and whether, in what I imagine will be a close game, England have gained enough confidence and believe in themselves in the game they have played in the last six to eight months to put the match away.

"If they get ahead on the scoreboard, they really need to put the game to bed. They can do that but Argentina will not roll over."

 

- Land Rover is official Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019.  With over 20 years of heritage supporting rugby at all levels, Land Rover is celebrating what makes rugby, rugby. #LandRoverRugby

France fly-half Romain Ntamack insists he and his team-mates have no interest in discussing one of the biggest humiliations in the national team's history ahead of Sunday's Rugby World Cup showdown against Tonga.

Ntamack will feature alongside scrum-half Baptiste Serin in France's third halfback partnership of the tournament after coach Jacques Brunel made 11 changes to the side that beat the United States 33-9.

Relatively comfortable wins in games where a major nation are heavy favourites are not always a formality, however, as France found out against Tonga at the 2011 World Cup.

Les Bleus might have ended the tournament as runners-up, but they only got out of the pool stage on account of accruing more bonus points after losing 19-14 to the Pacific Islanders in Wellington.

"We do not talk about it at all," said Ntamack, whose father Emile was a member of France's backroom staff at the 2011 World Cup.

"It has never been on the table. It is not a debate that has been started.

"I believe there are three players who experienced this match and none of them have spoken about it. It's not something we look at. My father has not told me anything about it."

A battling opening victory over Argentina means France have won two out of two, and a repeat of Tonga's heroics of eight years ago feels a far-fetched prospect.

Losses to England and Argentina mean there is not a point on the board yet for coach Touta Kefu, who brings tight-head prop Ma'afu Fia and wing Cooper Vuna into his Tonga starting XV.

Nasi Manu is back on the bench after a hip problem sidelined him against Argentina.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

France – Jefferson Poirot

Brunel's willingness to rotate means Poirot becomes France's third captain of the tournament as he leads a reshuffled pack. Poirot came off the bench to score against the USA, when number eight Louis Picamoles stood in for benched hooker Guilhem Guirado.

Tonga – Cooper Vuna

The highlight of Vuna's lively contribution off the bench against Argentina was a wonderful backhanded pass to release Telusa Veainu to touch down. Tonga will need plenty more of that inspiration and flair in Kumamoto, with Vuna starting on the wing.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- There have been three red cards in the five previous clashes between Tonga and France. Feleti Mahoni was sent off for Tonga in 1995, while Yoann Maestri and Sona Taumalolo were given their marching orders for fighting each other in a 2013 match.
- Sione Kalamafoni and Siale Piutau are set to make their 11th Rugby World Cup appearances, joining Vunga Lilo and Soane Tonga’uiha as Tonga's most capped players in the competition.
- Camille Lopez is the only France player with multiple try assists (two) at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, both coming from kicks. Four of Lopez’s five try assists in his Test career have come via kicks.
- Pierre-Louis Barassi could become the eighth France player to make his Test debut at a Rugby World Cup should he feature off the bench. Remy Grosso was the last to do so against Canada in 2015.

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