The Barrett brothers celebrated making Rugby World Cup history by scoring a try apiece as ruthless holders New Zealand hammered Canada 63-0 at Oita Stadium on Wednesday.

Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett and Scott Barrett became the first siblings to play in the same All Blacks side in a World Cup and they all made their mark in a nine-try drubbing.

All three brothers touched down along with Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Shannon Frizell and Brad Weber (two) after New Zealand were awarded an early penalty try.

Five of the tries came in a spell of 16 second-half minutes as Steve Hansen's side ran riot to go second in Pool B behind Italy, after starting their quest to win the Web Ellis Cup for an unprecedented third consecutive time with a win over South Africa.

The outstanding Richie Mo'unga scored 16 points with the boot - nailing all eight conversions - and Ardie Savea became the first player to wear goggles in a World Cup match but whipped them off soon after coming on.

New Zealand made an ominous start with huge backing from an expectant crowd and Romain Poite awarded a penalty try with only four minutes gone, Gordon McRorie punished for trying to steal a ball while a scrum drove Canada beyond their own line.

Jordie Barrett took a crossfield kick from Mo'unga to add a second try and Williams stepped inside and ploughed over for another before turning provider for Beauden Barrett with a clever kick.

The humidity made the ball tricky to handle in the first half, but New Zealand shifted through the gears after the break to put on a show with conditions easing.

Williams darted between a couple of defenders before setting up a simple finish for Ioane and Scott Barrett rounded off a slick move after fumbling as he went to touch down in the first half.

Frizell went over following an initial break from Ioane and New Zealand had four tries in the first 10 minutes of the second half when the rapid Beauden Barrett sprinted 60 metres to lay on a first Test try for Weber.

Mo'unga started that move with a brilliant take and offload, and the magnificent fly-half slipped in Weber for a double before maintaining his 100 per cent record from the tee.

Beauden Barrett missed out on a brace when he dropped the ball running clear right at the end, but that would have been no consolation for battered Canada.

 

Mo'unga magic makes Canada suffer

Mo'unga showed New Zealand's strength in depth with a brilliant performance at number 10, showing great vision and skill with ball in hand and producing a flawless display with the boot.

Full-back masterclass from brilliant Beauden

Beauden Barrett showed his class at full-back with a superb all-round display, taking high balls, charging through the Canada defence with a sharp turn of foot and also performing his defensive duties magnificently - the highlight being a great saving tackle to deny Peter Nelson a first-half try.

Key Opta Facts:

- New Zealand have won each of their six Tests against Canada, with their last five victories in that run coming by margins of 50-plus points.
- The All Blacks have won each of their last 16 Rugby World Cup matches, the longest run by any side in the tournament's history, while they also boast a 100 per cent win rate in pool stage matches at the World Cup (30/30).
- This is the 32nd time that a match has been won by 60-plus points at the Rugby World Cup, New Zealand have been the winning side in 13 of those matches, over twice as many as any other side (England, Australia both five). 
- All three Barrett brothers scored a try in the same game for New Zealand for the first time; Beauden and Jordie Barrett had crossed the try line in the same game once before (v Italy in November 2018).
- Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Whitelock have each won their last 16 Rugby World Cup games, equaling Keven Mealamu for the all-time record of consecutive wins at the tournament.

What's next?

The holders will be expected to rack up another big score against Namibia on Sunday, while Canada will be in for another daunting encounter with the Springboks two days later.

France star Bernard Le Roux admitted they expected an easier match against the United States after battling to a 33-9 victory on Wednesday.

Three tries in the final 13 minutes secured a bonus-point win in Fukuoka that moves Jacques Brunel's side to within a point of Rugby World Cup Pool C leaders England.

The scoreline flattered Les Bleus, though, who led 12-6 at the break after a careless first-half performance and were pegged back to 12-9 before late scores from Gael Fickou, Baptiste Serin and Jefferson Poirot.

"I think we got a big surprise in the first half," Le Roux said after the match. "I think we thought it was going to be a bit easier but they stuck in there, they gave us a real hard time at the breakdown, we didn't get clean ball... it was really tough.

"We just didn't get fast ball. They were really contesting a lot of balls in the ruck, the phases didn't go well in the scrums, so yeah, they stuck in there and gave us a big surprise."

France's whole front row was changed within four minutes of the second half and Le Roux felt that helped his side regain some control.

"[The changes] made a big difference," he said. "We got some to go forward from the set plays and that opened up some space on the outside."

USA's Blaine Scully thinks the scoreline was an unfair reflection of their performance but is taking heart from the way they provided such a scare to a side ranked seven places above them in the world.

"We were in the game pretty much the whole way," he said. "The score got a little bit away from us at the end but I don't think that's necessarily indicative of the game out there.

"We were 100 per cent in this game and we wanted to put ourselves in a position to be there at the end. Unfortunately, [there were] a few too many turnovers our side, France are very dangerous from there and they punished us in those areas.

"It's where we want to be. We want to be testing ourselves in the best competition against the best teams in the world. We're asking no quarter and we don't expect them to give it to us."

France moved above Argentina into second place in Rugby World Cup Pool C with an unconvincing 33-9 bonus-point win over the United States.

A much-changed Les Bleus side made hard work of claiming maximum points in Fukuoka on Wednesday, scoring three tries in the final 13 minutes.

Jacques Brunel's side made far too many errors, but scores from Yoann Huget, Alivereti Raka, Gael Fickou, Baptiste Serin and Jefferson Poirot put them a point behind leaders England.

Fickou crossed 13 minutes from time and Serin claimed the bonus point soon after as France got away with a lacklustre display, with the hope given to the USA from three AJ MacGinty penalties ending late on.

Camille Lopez caught the USA napping just six minutes in, booting over the top for the onrushing Huget to scoop up and go under the posts for a score which Thomas Ramos converted.

The Eagles took that early blow on the chin, getting on the board when MacGinty was on target with a penalty as the France defence came under increasing pressure.

Les Bleus - captained by Louis Picamoles for the first time - continued to rack up the penalties, but a pinpoint cross-field kick from the quick-thinking Lopez set up World Cup debutant Raka for a simple finish in the right corner. 

A second MacGinty strike from the tee nine minutes before the break cut France's lead to 12-6 at the end of a first half in which they were disjointed.

Raka was denied a double due to a forward pass from Sofiane Guitoune and French nerves were jangling when MacGinty's third successful strike put them just three points behind.

Fickou gave France breathing space with his second try in as many matches in his 50th Test as Les Bleus stepped it up a gear and Serin burst through to seal the bonus point.

Poirot dived over to add further gloss right at the end when the USA failed to stop a rolling maul, with Lopez converting for a third time as France made it two wins out of two following their success over the Pumas.

 

Flat France falter after strong start

It appeared the USA may be in a for tough day at the office when Huget touched down early on, but France appeared to lack a plan and conceded eight penalties in a poor first half display.

Strong finish gets the job done

With the USA tiring after putting so much into a performance they could be proud of, France pushed on to avoid a scare and take a step towards the quarter-finals - cutting down the errors and finishing with a flourish to move above Argentina.

What's next?

France face Tonga on Sunday before a blockbuster clash with England, while the USA will look to ruffle Argentina's feathers next Wednesday.

Jordan Petaia will become the youngest player to represent Australia at the Rugby World Cup after being named to debut in the Wallabies' must-win game against Uruguay.

Petaia, 19, will make his international bow in Oita on Saturday and break the record held by Joe Roff since his appearance against Canada in a pool match at the 1995 edition.

The highly rated teenager also becomes the first Australian to debut in a World Cup since Berrick Barnes in 2007.

It is a long-awaited first cap for Petaia, who was set to make his maiden appearance against Italy last year before a hamstring injury delayed his bow for the 2015 World Cup runners-up.

The uncapped winger's selection is part of 12 changes to the starting XV following last weekend's 29-25 defeat to Wales in Tokyo – captain Michael Hooper, Dane Haylett-Petty and Allan Alaalatoa the only survivors from the Pool D blockbuster.

Nic White and Christian Lealiifano, who were surprisingly dropped for the Wales match having played in the opening victory over Fiji, have been restored to Michael Cheika's line-up.

Matt To'omua will start at 12 following two impressive performances off the bench, but there is no place for playmaker Bernard Foley in the matchday squad as David Pocock is named among the replacements.

Folau Fainga'a, Jack Dempsey and Tevita Kuridrani also come into the starting side, with James Slipper, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Kurtley Beale elevated from the bench.

Australia are second in Pool D after two games, three points adrift of leaders Wales and a point above Georgia with two fixtures remaining.

 

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt To'omua, Jordan Petaia, Christian Lealiifano, Nic White; James Slipper, Folau Fainga'a, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman, Luke Salakaia-Loto, Michael Hooper, Jack Dempsey.

Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Sekope Kepu, Taniela Tupou, Rory Arnold, David Pocock, Will Genia, James O'Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Davit Kacharava is set to make World Cup history for Georgia as they look to keep their slim prospects of progression alive against Fiji.

The centre will make his 100th start in international rugby in Thursday's Pool D clash in Higashiosaka, becoming the first Georgia player to do so.

He will be expected to be able to celebrate the landmark with a win against a Fiji side stunned by Uruguay in their most recent encounter. 

While Fiji were beaten 30-27 by the South American side, Georgia cruised to a 33-7 victory against the same opposition to get off the mark for the tournament.

Even if they overcome Fiji, Georgia will likely face the mammoth task of having to beat Australia to progress to the quarter-finals.

Fiji, meanwhile, are aiming to end a run of just one win in their last nine World Cup matches.

Each team has made 11 changes, with only Manasa Saulo, Leone Nakarawa, captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Semi Radradra retaining their places as Fiji look to claim a win that would boost hopes of automatic qualification for the 2023 tournament in France.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Georgia - Merab Sharikadze

Sharikadze returns as captain having previously been hindered by a knee injury and the skipper will be relied upon to provide a steadying presence and ensure Georgia avoid a shock.

Fiji - Nikola Matawalu

Having helped Fiji salvage two bonus points from the defeat to Uruguay with a pair of late tries, Matawalu's omission from the XV seems harsh. Look for him to try make an impact off the bench again for the Pacific Islanders. 


KEY OPTA FACTS

- Georgia and Fiji have met three times previously with Fiji winning twice (2012 & 2018) and Georgia once (2016), this will be their first clash in the Rugby World Cup.
- Georgia have won each of their last five matches against non-Tier 1 opposition at the Rugby World Cup, their last such defeat coming in 2003 against Uruguay.
- Georgia have missed just one of 21 conversion attempts at the Rugby World Cup, kicking the two extra points for each of their 16 tries prior to their game against Uruguay (4/5) in the 2019 edition of the World Cup.
- Fiji lost to Uruguay in their last game despite scoring five tries, only once before in a Rugby World Cup game has a side scored 5+ tries and lost, Wales doing so against Fiji in 2007.
- Vereniki Goneva is Fiji's top try scorer in Rugby World Cup history, however four of his five tries came on his tournament debut in 2011 against Namibia, since then he has just one try in nine appearances in the competition.

Joe Schmidt believes Ireland have made the right call by opting not to risk Robbie Henshaw and instead hand Garry Ringrose a third consecutive start at the Rugby World Cup.

Ringrose is one of just four Ireland players to keep his place following the shock defeat to Japan as they prepare to take on Russia on Thursday.

Johnny Sexton returns having been kept out of the last game as a precaution, lining up as captain for the first time, but Henshaw is still yet to feature at the tournament.

Henshaw suffered a hamstring injury in training before the opener against Scotland, yet Ireland have not sent him home and are giving the centre extra time to recover.

Ringrose is starting again against Russia and Schmidt is happy with the pairing with Bundee Aki, who is back after he failed a head injury assessment before the Japan game.

"It's a risk [to play Ringrose again] but he's feeling great," the coach told reporters. "He's playing super.

"I thought Garry was really good last weekend - he was one of the guys who didn't really miss a bit. He was still working really hard, he was still creating opportunities.

"It was difficult. He moved into 12, we had Jordan Larmour at 13, who's really a back three player for us, we had Luke McGrath on the wing, and we were chasing a game. It's a tough situation to be in.

"With Garry, Robbie is on the cusp of being available. If we put him back in this week - which we thought about - it's a risk we feel we don't need to take because Garry's feeling good.

"We can put Robbie in, maybe, next week. And at the same time, we've got Bundee back and he's got a bit of bounce about him."

Ireland will be expected to collect an additional bonus point against Russia, recovering some momentum, but Schmidt is more concerned by the performance.

"We have to study around our performance-orientated goals," he said. "For us, if we don't focus on those, we can't actually put anything on the scoreboard.

"We need to put things in place to build the pressure or create the opportunities.

"I felt the first 20 minutes last weekend were very good. We got in the right field position, turned a few balls over, which was frustrating, but at the same time got the two tries.

"We perhaps didn't get back up to that and play with the same front-foot attitude - and you can't really afford to do that against good opposition."


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ireland - Johnny Sexton

Conor Murray ran the show against Scotland while Sexton battled a thigh injury, which then kept Ireland's star man out of the defeat to Japan. In their third match, Schmidt's men need the World Rugby Player of the Year to finally turn up at the World Cup party. Starting as captain, he will be expected to tear Russia apart.

Russia - Yury Kushnarev

Attacking opportunities will be few and far between for Russia in this match, so it is crucial they take any chance to get on the scoreboard. Kushnarev has kicked 14 of the Bears' 19 points at the tournament so far and will need to be accurate again to punish any errors from their esteemed opponents.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- Ireland and Russia have met twice previously in international rugby, in 2002 and then again in 2011. Ireland won both matches by margins of 32 points and 50 points respectively.
- The 62-12 Irish victory over Russia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup remains their second biggest win at the tournament, surpassed only by a 64-7 triumph over Namibia in 2003.
- After losing to Japan, Ireland are out to avoid back-to-back defeats in the competition for the first time since their last two pool games of the 2007 edition.
- Ireland's 19-12 loss to Japan snapped a 44-game unbeaten streak against non-Tier 1 opposition in international rugby, going back to a defeat to Samoa in 1996.
- Russia remain on the hunt for their maiden World Cup victory, with this being their seventh game at the tournament. Only Namibia (21) have played more World Cup games and not won.

South Africa have been forced to call up Damian Willemse to replace the injured Jesse Kriel in their Rugby World Cup squad, while the Springboks are keeping faith with three forwards who impressed against Namibia.

Kriel suffered a hamstring injury in the team's opening Pool B defeat to New Zealand and it has now been deemed he will not recover to feature in the group stage, prompting a switch with Willemse.

Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said: "Damian would have been more involved with us this year but for injury. He is familiar with our systems and should have no problem slotting in."

He added: "I feel for Jesse. He has been in the matchday 23 for almost every match since I took over and is a model professional. He was a key member of the squad."

Erasmus named his XV to face pool leaders Italy on Tuesday, reverting to 12 of the players who started the game against the All Blacks.

But Tendai Mtawarira, Bongi Mbonambi and Lood de Jager, three members of the pack in a big win over Namibia, have been rewarded for their performances in the second pool match.

They keep their places at the expense of Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Franco Mostert, who all drop to the bench.

Erasmus selected only two backs among the replacements but revealed he is anticipating "a major forward battle" against Italy.

And with the Azzurri ahead of South Africa with two wins from two, it is absolutely vital there are no slip-ups from the Rugby Championship winners.

"Italy have had their eyes on this match for a couple of years and will have planned and schemed how to bring us down once again," said Erasmus.

"This is a defining match for them and, while we were focusing on the New Zealand game, they will have had their eyes on this one as the key to the quarter-finals for them.

"That means we have to be at our absolute best if we are to beat them. We are at the stage already where there are no second chances. That's a message we have been emphasising to the players this week."


South Africa team: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Tenda Mtawarira, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Malcom Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn.

Johnny Sexton says he is honoured and proud to captain Ireland for the first time and is now determined to lead a much-changed side to a crucial win against Russia.

World Rugby Player of the Year Sexton was missing on Saturday as Ireland were stunned by Rugby World Cup hosts Japan in Pool A, leaving Joe Schmidt's men with plenty of work to do in matches against Russia and Samoa.

Schmidt has responded by making 11 changes to his XV, including the return of Sexton, who had received treatment on his thigh in the opening win over Scotland.

The 34-year-old becomes the 106th player to skipper Ireland and is raring to get going.

"It's a massive honour," Sexton said as Ireland's team was announced at a news conference on Tuesday.

"I spoke to Joe this morning so only found out myself over the last few hours and haven't had the chance to tell my family or anything. But I'm sure they're going to be very proud as well.

"It is something I have thought about since I was a kid, something I've made decisions around trying to get there one day. It has taken a while but it was worth the wait and I feel incredibly proud.

"But I want to be a captain who delivers a good performance and a good win in a World Cup game - that's my main focus.

"I don't think anything changes really for me. I have a big responsibility in the team anyway, so nothing has changed."

The fly-half added on his fitness: "I kicked on Monday a little bit, it wasn't anything too much. Then I kicked again on Tuesday. I feel good and ready to go now."

Elsewhere in the line-up, Schmidt has brought in Jordi Murphy, who only joined the squad this week after Jack Conan flew home with a fractured foot.

Only Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose and Peter O'Mahony keep their places for Thursday's game.

Bundee Aki is back after a head injury against Scotland, but Chris Farrell failed a head injury assessment against Japan and is out.


Ireland team: Rob Kearney, Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Keith Earls, Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Jean Kleyn, Rhys Ruddock, Peter O'Mahony, Jordi Murphy.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, CJ Stander, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Jordan Larmour.

France coach Jacques Brunel is looking to England for inspiration ahead of facing the United States in the Rugby World Cup on Wednesday.

The Pool C contest was in doubt due to the lurking Typhoon Mitag, though organisers confirmed on Monday that the fixture is expected to go ahead without interruption.

As such, France have ploughed ahead with their preparations and Brunel looked back to England's 45-7 thrashing of their next opponents.

Brunel expects USA to be less "powerful" than Tonga, who they play on Sunday, though does believe they are not lacking in athletic attributes.

The coach has tweaked France's training accordingly after beating Argentina 23-21 in their campaign opener and is hopeful of mirroring England's dominance.

"We cannot say that we did not take [the difference in our futures opponents' styles of play] into consideration," Brunel said, according to quotes in L'Equipe. "There are different characteristics.

"The United States are athletic even though they are less powerful than Tonga. We must also value the performance of the English, who put them under pressure.

"This American team is feared for the physical qualities it develops. It was nevertheless well dominated by England, and we hope to do the same."

France were left red-faced in the build-up on Sunday, however, as they announced La Rochelle tighthead prop Uini Atonio as the replacement for Demba Bamba, who will miss the rest of the tournament with a thigh injury.

They then realised Atonio had suffered a neck injury the day before, leading to the French Rugby Federation (FFR) apologising to fans when subsequently confirming the call-up of Cedate Gomes Sa instead.

Brunel has made 12 changes to the side, though USA defensive coach Jacques Fourie remains entirely aware of the challenge facing the United States.

"There's a big beast lying ahead of us and that's France," he said. "We need to mentally and physically be ready or that challenge. I don't think we can get any worse [than against England].

"We need to rock up and we need to make our tackles. If you don't make your tackles, you're going to end up behind the advantage line every time.

"We need to stop their lineout mauls, because they're going to lick their lips from what they saw against England."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

France - Camille Lopez

In claiming the hard-fought scalp of Argentina, Lopez played a vital role off the bench, clinching victory with a drop-goal. He comes into XV on Wednesday, starting at fly-half.

United States - AJ MacGinty

Sale Sharks' MacGinty is closing in on becoming USA's second-highest point scorer and, if they are to stand any chance of beating France, they will surely need the Dublin-born fly-half's kicking to be on point.

Key Opta facts

- USA have won only one of their 42 matches against top tier opposition in the professional era (since 1996), a 30-29 victory against Scotland last year.
- USA led 21-17 at half-time in their last game against France (2004); that 21-point tally was more than they had scored by full-time in any of their previous six meetings, though it was not enough to clinch victory on the day.
- AJ MacGinty (278) needs a tally of just nine points to eclipse Matt Alexander (286) as the second highest point-scorer for the USA in international rugby; only Mike Hercus (465) has scored more than the pair.
- Joe Taufete'e has scored 20 tries in Test rugby, five more than any other front row forward in Test history (Keith Wood – 15), those 20 tries coming in just 24 games.

Steve Hansen is hopeful Beauden Barrett's performance levels will improve even further playing alongside his brothers in New Zealand's next pool match at the Rugby World Cup.

The All Blacks began their campaign with victory over South Africa, in the process taking a huge early step towards the knockout stages of the tournament.

Their next outing is against Canada; while it is expected to be a more straightforward affair, Hansen has still named a strong New Zealand side.

Included in the XV are brothers Beauden, Jordie and Scott Barrett, becoming just the second trio of siblings to start together in a World Cup match - after Tonga's Vunipola brothers in 2015.

Beauden Barrett is a two-time World Rugby Player of the Year and starred against the Springboks, playing at full-back rather than his usual position of fly-half.

Yet Hansen is optimistic the 28-year-old will be inspired to produce an even more impressive display in familiar company.

"We know he's got all the skills in the world but he's in a hurry, you know," Hansen said. "He's got two brothers who are ahead of him.

"If you're in a contest with your siblings, you're always in a hurry - because you want to prove to not only yourself but your two siblings and everybody else that you're better than they are."

Hansen is also excited to see Jordie Barrett out on the field against Canada, although he acknowledges there are areas of the 22-year-old's game that still need honing.

"He's a very confident young man is our Jordie - and he has every right to be confident," the coach said. "He's a very skilled player.

"It's not his confidence that we need to get right, it's just his understanding and his pace of how he wants to play. He wants to do it at 100 miles an hour.

"We've talked about that before in the media and he's making good progress, so we're pretty excited by where he's going to end up one day."

Were Canada to get any sort of result against the All Blacks, it would go down as one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.

But Hansen admitted he had enjoyed taking in another shock result at the weekend when Japan defeated Ireland, who are seen by many as one of the major rivals for New Zealand's crown.

"You wouldn't get a better game of rugby. I thought [Japan] were outstanding in their performance," Hansen said.

"And their speed of ball was great, their line speed was awesome, they just kept coming, didn't they? Time after time after time and showed a lot of courage, a lot of intent, and a lot of skills.

"So hats off to them, it was a really great performance and one that the whole of Japan should be proud of."


PLAYERS TO WATCH

New Zealand - Beauden Barrett

Barrett is a joy to watch at the best of times given his outstanding speed, but the opportunity to take on inferior opponents like Canada should see him really make hay. If the makeshift full-back lifts his level even further as Hansen suggests, the Canucks could be in real trouble.

Canada - Conor Trainor

This match comes eight years to the day since the sides' previous World Cup meeting, in which Trainor also played. In fact, not only did he play but he also scored - twice. Trainor is the only player to have tallied a pair of tries against the All Blacks in the World Cup in the 21st century. A repeat would make for some story.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- New Zealand have won each of their previous five Tests against Canada, with their most recent four victories in that run coming by 50 points or more.
- The All Blacks have won each of their last 15 Rugby World Cup matches, the longest run by any side in the tournament's history.
- They also boast a 100 per cent win rate in pool stage matches at the World Cup (29/29).
- New Zealand have scored at least one try in each of their past 27 World Cup matches, a record for any nation in the tournament, last failing to do so against South Africa in 1999.
- Canada are winless in their past eight World Cup matches. Prior to this run, they had never gone more than four matches without victory in the tournament.

Gregor Townsend was delighted to see Scotland give what he considered "a true reflection" of their team as they dismantled Samoa at the Rugby World Cup.

Townsend's men had endured an awful start to their campaign in a heavy opening defeat to Ireland, while hosts Japan's shock win against the Irish dealt a further blow to Scotland's hopes of advancing from Pool A.

But where Scotland had been poor from the off against Ireland, they were much improved on Monday and led 20-0 at the break.

Samoa's Ed Fidow then received two yellow cards and was dismissed for conceding a pair of penalty tries to hand Scotland a commanding 34-0 bonus-point win that brings them back into contention.

Townsend accepted responsibility for the Ireland defeat but believed this match gave a greater impression of where Scotland are at.

"That was a true reflection of who we are and what we are capable of and what playing for Scotland means to the players," he said.

"That was a tough challenge to face, knowing that if we underperformed we were out of the World Cup. To see the effort and togetherness was excellent.

"Last week, we missed the beginning of the game and I take responsibility for not preparing the team well enough to start well against Ireland. But that didn't make us a bad team.

"Tonight, it was great to see them get rewards for their effort."

Samoa coach Steve Jackson praised Scotland while insisting his side were not yet "down and out", but much of the post-match conversation focused around the team's discipline.

While Jackson had suggested Samoa felt harshly treated when Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu'u were suspended prior to this game, he offered few excuses for Fidow.

"I suppose we can sit back and have a decent look at it overnight," he said. "But would Scotland have scored those tries?

"The first one is a bit difficult. You come in from the side but they were on their way to the try line. For the second one, it's hard when a player dives five metres out from the line.

"So we've just got to make better decisions and try to dislodge the ball a bit better than the way we defended there. But Scotland put themselves in those positions to score those tries. They probably deserved them anyway."

Asked if Samoa's approach could be questioned, Jackson replied: "Every team plays to the letter of the law.

"I'm not going to talk about the two yellow cards previously, but there have obviously been others who have escaped sanctions that we haven't.

"Again, these are decisions that get made by putting yourself in those positions. You're trying to stop two tries and there's going to be risk and reward.

"We don't intentionally go out there to get yellow cards - by no means do we coach or train that."

Scotland kept their hopes of progress from Pool A at the Rugby World Cup alive by beating Samoa 34-0, claiming a bonus point and dealing their opponents a huge blow.

With Japan enjoying a shock victory against Ireland, the host nation put themselves in pole position to advance to the knockout stages at the expense of these two sides.

But Scotland, having lost their opener to the Irish, came up with an impressive response in Kobe on Monday, led by the excellent Finn Russell.

The Racing 92 ace had a hand in two tries in five minutes as Sean Maitland and Greig Laidlaw crossed, before two penalty tries followed courtesy of Ed Fidow, who was dismissed. 

Further victories against Russia and Japan may yet be enough for Gregor Townsend's men in this pool, while Samoa - also on five points - have the Brave Blossoms and Ireland to play.

Scotland started on the front foot and took the opportunity to forge an early lead when Laidlaw dispatched a penalty for the opening points.

A subsequent lack of incision in the Scottish attack and some tricky humid conditions allowed Samoa to secure a foothold in the contest, but a crucial try arrived with half an hour played.

Russell spotted Maitland in the clear on the left wing and executed a delightful crossfield kick for the Saracens star to complete a simple score.

Fly-half Russell was predictably involved again when Scotland added a quick second, combining with Ritchie to send Laidlaw through, bouncing off tackles to land over the line.

Stuart Hogg sent in a superb drop goal and Scotland's lead stood at 20-0 at the break, giving them the second half to chase a bonus point.

Townsend's side were given a helpful boost when the offside Fidow prevented Fraser Brown from scoring, prompting a penalty try and a yellow card.

Farcically, Fidow then slid into Maitland with his knees as he lunged for the line, prompting a second penalty try, a second yellow and a red, gifting Scotland the extra point.

 

Beauden, Scott and Jordie Barrett will become the first trio of brothers to start for New Zealand when the All Blacks face Canada at the Rugby World Cup.

Wednesday's Pool B fixture against Canada at Oita Stadium will see the Barrett siblings become just the second trio of brothers to start in a World Cup match after the Tongan Vunipola brothers in 1995.

All Blacks star Beauden Barrett and brother Scott retain their places in the XV following the world champions' opening victory over South Africa, with head coach Steve Hansen making 11 changes.

New Zealand veteran Sonny Bill Williams is handed his first start of the showpiece tournament, along with Rieko Ioane, while TJ Perenara also slots into the line-up.

"Our aim is to win the next two Pool matches against Canada and Namibia, as well as continuing to grow our game and manage the workload across the group. With two games four days apart, it's obvious that we need to use our whole squad," Hansen said.

"Whilst there's a huge amount of energy and excitement amongst the whole team about what lies ahead, this week there has been a real focus on ourselves and our own standards.

"We've been working hard. We know we have to keep growing our game. We've always been demanding of ourselves when it comes to continued improvement, and that will never change. By doing so, it allows us to have the right attitude, intent and execution.

"When it comes to our preparation, it should never be about who we are playing, but how we are preparing individually and as a team, both mentally and physically. By doing this, it means you always respect your opponent and the jersey."

 

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Jack Goodhue, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Richie Mo'unga, TJ Perenara; Atu Moli, Liam Coltman, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Scott Barrett, Shane Frizell, Matt Todd, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, Ofa Tuungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Samuel Whitelock, Ardie Savea, Brad Weber, Ryan Crotty, Ben Smith.

Clermont Auvergne returned to winning ways in the Top 14 as Jake McIntyre's fine kicking propelled them to a 32-18 victory at struggling Stade Francais.

The home side took the lead four minutes in, though McIntyre - who tallied 22 points - immediately pulled Clermont level with a penalty, before two more three-pointers in quick succession nosed the visitors further ahead.

Joris Segonds responded with a penalty of his own, though Adrien Lapegue's yellow card swiftly took the wind out of Stade Francais' sails.

European Challenge Cup winners Clermont were reduced to 14 when Sitaleki Timani was sent to the sin bin on the stroke of half-time - Stade Francais taking advantage as Kylan Hamdaoui claimed the game's first try.

But Clermont took control after the restart, Samuel Ezeala and Fritz Lee going over in quick succession, with more accurate kicking from McIntyre ensuring Jonathan Danty's try was no more than a consolation as last season's runners up earned a first win in three matches.

Earlier, Bordeaux-Begles maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign draw with a 17-17 draw at Montpellier.

Martin Devergie's 69th-minute try and a penalty from Anthony Bouthier looked set to claim the points for Montpellier, but second-placed Bordeaux battled back.

Ben Botica's penalty four minutes from time secured a share of the spoils, with Bordeaux heading to league leaders Lyon, who they are two points shy of, next time out.

Warren Gatland realises the importance of Wales following up an impressive victory against Australia by performing well in their remaining Pool D matches.

Wales took control of their Rugby World Cup group by clinging on against the Wallabies and earning a hard-fought 29-25 win.

Gatland's side are expected to challenge for a first title at this tournament, yet the coach is first focused on ensuring they do not "take anyone lightly" prior to the knockout stages.

Wales face Fiji and then Uruguay in a pair of fixtures they will be expected to win.

"It was a tough game [against Australia] and a victory. It's confidence boosting hopefully for the next couple of games," he told a news conference. "We think they're going to be tough.

"Fiji will be hurting and we saw how well they played against Australia in the first half of that first game. We can't take anyone lightly in this group.

"It's important for us that we make sure we prepare in the best way that we possibly can and that we don't take any team or any performance for granted.

"We have to be as clinical as we possibly can be because that's what good teams do. They make sure that they are clinical and they are accurate.

"If we are to be considered a good team, we have got to play well in these next two matches."

Wales were waiting to see how Dan Biggar recovered after a failed head injury assessment, but Gatland was optimistic Liam Williams would be fit after rolling his ankle.

"We'll need to make sure we recover," Gatland said. "We've got nine or 10 days until our next match.

"We'll use that in the best way we possibly can to freshen up the guys and make sure we take a little time. It's nice getting a decent break before our next match against Fiji."

Meanwhile, opposite number Michael Cheika was not receptive to discussing Wales' chances when he was asked for an assessment at his own spiky news conference.

"I don't think that's really for me to talk about, is it? We've played our game against them and move onto the next game," he said.

"They won, now move onto the next game. It's not my place to talk about who's going to win and who's not."

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