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    France beat Tonga to set up England Rugby World Cup showdown

    October 06, 2019

    France's players celebrated with the fans at the final whistle
    2019 Rugby World Cup Pool B France (17) 23 Tries: Vakatawa, Raka Cons: Ntamack (2) Pens: Ntamack (3)
    Tonga: (7) 21
    Tries: Takulua, Hingano, Kapeli Cons: Takulua (2), Fosita
    France will play England to decide who tops Pool C on Saturday after they finally subdued a battling Tonga.

    France put in a characteristically fitful display - racing into a 17-point lead before being reeled in, then rallying before a late Tonga try set up a frantic finale.However, Damian Penaud reclaimed Camille Lopez's restart to end the underdogs' hopes of snatching a win.
    Pool C's winners will face the runners-up in Pool D in the last eight.Australia look the most likely to finish second in Pool D, while Wales will top that group if they can negotiate matches against Uruguay and Georgia.
    World Cup last-eight permutations
    World Cup tables
    France make it three from three
    France, with a third different half-back combination in as many matches, started the game at a canter as powerful centre Virimi Vakatawa went over from Alivereti Raka's one-handed pass.When scrum-half Baptiste Serin spotted a unmarked Raka and the chance to tap and go for a second score, Jacques Brunel's side were 17-0 up after 35 minutes.
    But, justas in their opening match against Argentina - when they allowed the Pumas back in the match from 20-3 down - France's concentration wavered.Newcastle's Sonatane Takulua dived over from close range just before the break as Tonga's forwards wrestled their way into the ascendancy.France full-back Maxime Medard paid the price for allowing the ball to bounce early in the second half as Malietoa Hingano pounced to power over.

    With their advantage shaved down to three points, the sense that a repeat of Tonga's upset victory in the 2011 pool stages may be brewing stung France back into life.They tightened up their play and fly-half Romain Ntamack landed two penalty goals to put his side 23-14 in front.Penaud dived over to seemingly put the game beyond doubt, but that was to be more drama as referee Nic Berry - belatedly, but correctly - ruled out that score for a knock-on by Medard, and then Tonga flanker Zane Kapeli claimed a cross-field kick and dotted down.

    Replacement Latiume Fosita slotted the conversion putting Tonga within two points as they prepared to receive kick-off with less than a minute to go.But Penaud tapped the kick-off back to a team-mate and France booted into touch to end the game.
    Teams
    France: Medard; Penaud, Vakatawa, Guitoune, Raka; Ntamack, Serin; Poirot, Chat, Slimani, Gabrillagues, Vahaamahina, Lauret, Ollivon, Alldritt.
    Replacements: Guirado, Baille, Setiano, Le Roux, Camara, Dupont, Lopez, Barassi.
    Tonga: Veainu, Vuna, Hingano, Piutau, Halaifonua; Faiva, Takulua; Fisi'ihoi, Ngauamo, Fia; Lousi, Fifita, Kalamafoni, Kapeli, Vaipulu.
    Replacements: Sakalia, Fifita, Halanukonuka, Mafi, Manu, Fukofuka, Fosita, Pakalani.

    The permutations for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
    1 hour agoFrom the sectionRugby Union
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    Scotland's Stuart McInally, England's Owen Farrell, Wales' Alun Wyn Jones and Ireland's Rory Best
    Home nations' captains: Scotland's Stuart McInally, England's Owen Farrell, Wales' Alun Wyn Jones and Ireland's Rory Best
    The battle for places in the World Cup knockout stages is hotting up.

    England booked their place in the last eight by beating Argentina, Wales can secure their spot on Wednesday and there are big games coming up for Scotland and Ireland.

    So what are the permutations in each pool? BBC Sport takes a closer look.

    What are the rules?
    Teams receive four points for a win and two for a draw. A bonus point is awarded for scoring four tries or for a defeat by seven points or fewer.

    The winner and runner-up in each pool qualify for the quarter-finals.

    If two teams are tied at the end of the group stage then the winner of the match between the two teams will be ranked higher.

    If two or more teams are tied then points difference will be used to separate them with various other eliminators used if points differences are equal.

    For full rules check out the official Rugby World Cup website
    Pool A
    Pool A
    Scotland v Russia (9 October): Scotland must win on Wednesday to move closer to Ireland and Japan, but Gregor Townsend's side will not be happy with anything other than a bonus-point victory.

    Ireland v Samoa (12 October): Ireland will qualify for the last eight with a bonus-point victory, given Scotland could not match the 16 points they would then have. Realistically, given Ireland's points difference, victory without a bonus point would also secure a quarter-final spot.

    In the case of Japan, Scotland and Ireland finishing on the same number of points, the quarter-final places would be decided on points difference. The teams' head-to-head record is the initial tie-breaker, however each of Japan, Ireland and Scotland team would have won one and lost one of their matches against the other two.

    Typhoon Mitag could pass through central and northern Japan this week and in the unlikely event the match in Fukuoka is cancelled it will end in a no-score draw, with World Rugby's tournament rules allocating both sides two points.

    Japan v Scotland (13 October): Japan moved back to the top of the table with victory over Samoa and a win against Scotland would put them through to their first World Cup quarter-final.

    Scotland would have to beat the Brave Blossoms to progress, with bonus points possibly proving decisive.

    If Scotland win and both sides finish on the same points, Gregor Townsend's side would progress by virtue of winning Sunday's match.

    Pool B
    Pool B
    South Africa v Canada (8 October): South Africa can confirm their progression with a bonus-point victory over Canada on Tuesday.

    New Zealand v Italy (12 October): New Zealand are not yet mathematically through to the knockout stages, despite topping the group.

    Unless Canada shock the Springboks, Italy would have to beat the All Blacks in their final game to progress, and even that may not be enough if Steve Hansen's men claimed bonus points.

    Pool C
    Pool C table
    France v Tonga (6 October): France will qualify for the next round by beating Tonga on Sunday. Tonga have to win both of their remaining games to stand any chance of progressing.

    England v France (12 October): England sealed their qualification to the last eight with victory over Argentina - and will look to secure top spot in the group next Saturday.

    Other fixtures:

    Argentina v United States (9 October)
    United States v Tonga (13 October)
    Pool D
    Pool D
    Wales v Fiji (9 October): For Wales, it's simple. Beat Fiji on Wednesday and they seal their progress to the next round. Defeat for Wales would see Fiji move above them.

    That would leave Wales, Fiji, Australia, and theoretically Georgia with the chance to reach the knockout stage with the last two fixtures to be played.

    Australia v Georgia (11 October): Australia will progress if Wales beat Fiji on Wednesday, or if the Wallabies win their final pool game against Georgia.

    Remaining fixtures:

    Wales v Uruguay (13 October)
    Knockout stages - who plays who?
    Rugby World Cup quarter-finals
    19 October Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D
    Winner Pool B v Runner-up Pool A
    20 October Winner Pool D v Runner-up Pool C
    Winner Pool A v Runner-up Pool B
    Rugby World Cup semi-finals
    26 October Winner QF1 v Winner QF2
    27 October Winner QF3 v Winner QF4

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