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Rugby World Cup diary: England qualify but what about the other home nations?

Argentina’s Tomas Lavanini (No.5) was sent off for a high tackle on England’s Owen Farrell
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Argentina’s Tomas Lavanini (No.5) was sent off for a high tackle on England’s Owen Farrell
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Argentina’s Tomas Lavanini (No.5) was sent off for a high tackle on England’s Owen Farrell

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David Rogers/Getty Images
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Argentina’s Tomas Lavanini (No.5) was sent off for a high tackle on England’s Owen Farrell

Should Wales beat Fiji on Wednesday they will join England in the last eight

One-Minute Read
Monday, October 7, 2019 - 7:40am

England became the first country to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after beating Argentina on Saturday to make it three wins from three games in pool C. 

See related 
Rugby World Cup fixtures and TV guide: pool matches and results, UK start times, knockout schedule, final date

The Pumas were reduced to 14 men midway through the first-half when second-row Tomas Lavanini was rightly red-carded for a high hit on Owen Farrell, and England took full advantage to canter to a 39-10 victory. 

England meet France on Saturday in their final pool match and Les Bleus have also achieved the luxury of qualifying for the last eight with a game to spare. 

Not that the French were on fire in their narrow 23-21 win over Tonga. It was squeaky-bum time for the Six Nations side in the dying stages of the match after the Tongans staged a stirring second-half comeback with three tries. 

France held on for the win and they could yet top the pool if they beat England.

Power game

It’s a big “if”, however. England were at times a little wayward in their execution against Argentina but there is still a feeling they are playing well within themselves and building towards the knockout stage. 

Not so France, who have been pushed to the edge by the Argentines and the Tongans, and were also unsettled last week by the United States. 

Former England wing turned BBC pundit Chris Ashton believes that France could be crushed by the power of the English in next weekend’s pool decider. 

“France’s set-piece looked at odds and ends throughout,” said Ashton. “The scrum didn’t do well and England will be licking their lips. 

“This World Cup England’s scrum and set-piece has been playing with real force and France will be in a for a long weekend against them.”

Miracle required for Italy in pool B

England and France are the only two nations to have booked their place in the last eight, although it would require a rugby miracle to deny New Zealand their quarter-final spot. 

After thrashing Namibia 71-9 on Sunday, the two-time defending champions are top of pool B with 14 points. South Africa and Italy both have ten points apiece and the latter play the All Blacks on Saturday. 

Before then the Springboks play Canada in their final game on Tuesday and a bonus point win should be a formality for them.

That would take them to 15 points, meaning that Italy would need to beat New Zealand - which they’ve never before done - with a bonus point to boot. Italy would also need to ensure that the All Blacks don’t pick up a defensive point. 

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Wales on course in pool D

Wales play Fiji on Wednesday knowing that victory will ensure their passage to the last eight.

The Pacific Islanders famously beat the Welsh 12 years ago but it would still be a major surprise if they lost this time around given their form this year. 

Should that scenario unfold, however, Fiji would leapfrog them in pool D and they, Wales, pool leaders Australia, and even Georgia would be with a shout of qualifying going into the last round of matches at the weekend, in which the Aussies play Georgia and Wales take on Uruguay.

Wales have made two changes to their team to face Fiji on Wednesday. James Davies and Ross Moriarty come into the back row in place of Justin Tipuric and Aaron Wainwright. Fly-half Dan Biggar is also fit to start.

Celts go for glory in pool A

Japan’s 38-19 victory against Samoa has taken the host nation to the brink of qualifying for their first Rugby World Cup quarter-final but that prize could still be ripped from their hands. 

For that to happen Scotland must beat Russia with a bonus point on Wednesday and also defeat Japan on Sunday while ensuring their opponents don’t collect a bonus point. 

That would leave the pool A rivals level on points but the Scots going through by virtue of winning Sunday’s match. 

However, how Ireland go in their final pool A game against Samoa on Saturday will also be a factor. Currently second on 11 points, three shy of Japan, the Irish have struggled for form so far and the physical Samoans will get stuck in from the start in the hope of unsettling Joe Schmidt’s team.

Remaining RWC pool fixtures 

Pool fixtures conclude on 13 October and the quarter-finals will be held on 19-20 October. All times below are UK.

Pool A 
  • Wednesday 9 October: Scotland vs. Russia (8.15am; Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka; ITV)  
  • Saturday 12 October: Ireland vs. Samoa (11.45am; Hakatanomori Football Stadium, Fukuoka; ITV)  
  • Sunday 13 October: Japan vs. Scotland (11.45am; International Stadium, Yokohama; ITV)
Pool B
  • Tuesday 8 October: South Africa vs. Canada (11.45am; Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe; ITV 4) 
  • Saturday 12 October: New Zealand vs. Italy (5.45am; City of Toyota Stadium, Aichi; ITV)  
  • Sunday 13 October: Namibia vs. Canada (4.15am; Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Kamaishi; ITV)
Pool C
  • Wednesday 9 October: Argentina vs. USA (5.45am; Prefectual Kumagaya Rugby Grounds, Kumagaya; ITV 4)  
  • Saturday 12 October: England vs. France (9.15am; International Stadium, Yokohama; ITV)  
  • Sunday 13 October: USA vs. Tonga (6.45am; Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka; ITV)
Pool D
  • Wednesday 9 October: Wales vs. Fiji (10.45am; Oita Stadium, Oita; ITV) 
  • Friday 11 October: Australia vs. Georgia (11.15am; Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka; ITV 4) 
  • Sunday 13 October: Wales vs. Uruguay (9.15am; Kumamoto Prefectural Athletic Stadium, Kumamoto; ITV)

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For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues free
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