The Latest: France loses 2 more players at Rugby World Cup

Sports

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Day 15 of the Rugby World Cup in Japan (all times local):

12:55 p.m.

France has been hit by two more injuries at the Rugby World Cup, with fullback Thomas Ramos and hooker Peato Mauvaka ruled out of the tournament.

Neither is a first-choice player, but Ramos played in Wednesday’s 33-9 win against the United States and twisted his ankle during the game.

He is replaced in head coach Jacques Brunel’s squad by Vincent Rattez, who has two test caps.

Mauvaka hurt his thigh during a training session on Tuesday and relinquishes his spot to Christopher Tolofua, who has seven caps.

The replacement players are expected to arrive on Saturday night or Sunday morning, the French Rugby Federation said.

France plays Tonga in Pool C on Sunday and then faces archrival England on Oct. 12.

Les Bleus have also lost prop Demba Bamba and center Wesley Fofana to thigh injuries.

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12:45 p.m.

Jordie Barrett will play flyhalf for the New Zealand for the first time in a reworked All Blacks lineup to take on Namibia on Sunday.

Jordie Barrett, backrower Shannon Frizell and center Jack Goodhue are the only players retained in the starting XV from New Zealand’s 63-0 win over Canada at Oita. Three Barrett brothers played against Canada, with regular playmaker Beauden at fullback and Scott in the tight five.

Sam Whitelock, one of three players involved in the 2015 Rugby World Cup win over Namibia, will captain the All Blacks.

Whitelock has won all five of his previous tests when starting as All Blacks captain.

New Zealand: Ben Smith, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Anton Linert-Brown, George Bridge, Jordie Barrett, Aaron Smith; Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Shannon Frizell, Sam Whitelock (captain), Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Angus Ta’avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Matt Todd, Brad Weber, TJ Perenara, Rieko Ioane.

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11:55 a.m.

Winger Taylor Paris has become the third Canadian to exit the Rugby World Cup due to injury.

The 26-year-old from Barrie, Ontario, came on as a replacement in Canada’s 63-0 loss to New Zealand on Wednesday in Oita, Japan, but was forced off after a concussion.

Rugby Canada said he will be replaced on the World Cup roster by Toronto Arrows winger Kainoa Lloyd. No stranger to World Cup heartbreak, Paris missed the 2015 tournament after suffering a knee injury on the eve of the competition.

The Canadian team has already lost centers Nick Blevins and Ben LeSage to injury. They were replaced by Guiseppe du Toit and Theo Sauder after suffering a fractured jaw and hand injury, respectively, in Canada’s opening 48-7 loss to Italy.

Canada faces South Africa on Tuesday in Kobe.

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11:10 a.m.

Johan Deysel is fit to start and captain Namibia against New Zealand in their Pool B match on Sunday in Tokyo.

Following a shoulder injury, Deysel came off the bench in Namibia’s last match, a 57-3 loss to South Africa last Saturday.

Deysel is back at inside center. He scored a try against New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup.

Namibia resembles more the lineup which lost its opener to Italy 47-22 in Fukuoka, with nine of the starting XV back.

Namibia: Johan Tromp, Lesley Klim, Justin Newman, Johan Deysel (captain), JC Greyling, Helarius Axasman Kisting, Damian Stevens; Janco Venter, Thomasau Forbes, Prince Gaoseb, Tjiuee Uanivi, PJ Van Lill, AJ De Klerk, Torsten George Van Jaarsveld, Andre Rademeyer. Reserves: Obert Nortje, Nelius Theron, Johannes Coetzee, Johan Retief, Adriaan Booysen, Eugene Jantjies, Darryl De La Harpe, Janry du Toit.

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10 a.m.

The anti-doping message will be spelled out clearly at the Rugby World Cup this weekend when all 620 players as well as match officials and management of all 20 teams wear their Keep Rugby Clean t-shirts at games and public events in Japan.

World Rugby said the weekend was a key education strategy to deter doping, assist players in making informed ethical decisions, and promote the importance of healthy approaches to medication and nutrition.

All teams at the Rugby World Cup have been subjected to a pre-event testing, with programs for each country coordinated with national anti-doping agencies. Blood, urine and biological passport tests have been conducted at a combination of training sessions, players’ homes, team hotels and matches.

“Doping is the biggest threat to the integrity of sport and the fight against doping begins with education,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement Friday. “Rugby is a sport built on strong character-building values of respect, integrity, passion, discipline and solidarity and every player has the right to complete on a level playing field. Keep Rugby Clean weekend is a key element of our education strategy to deter doping and promote the importance of a maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.”

There are some big matches across the third weekend of the tournament, kicking off Friday night with two-time champions South Africa against Italy in Pool B.

On Saturday, England and Argentina meet in Tokyo, Japan is aiming to clinch a quarterfinal spot for the first time with a win over Samoa at Toyota, and Australia is against Uruguay at Oita.

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