LONDON (AP) The latest at the Rugby World Cup (all times local):
There will be no citings from the New Zealand-South Africa semifinal at the Rugby World Cup, meaning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been cleared of any foul play.
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World Rugby spokesman Dominic Rumbles made the announcement at Twickenham.
He says the citing commissioner for that match, with the benefit of 30-plus television cameras, determined that a video on social media showing one angle of McCaw coming into contact with Francois Louw, was reviewed and proved to be the veteran New Zealand flanker’s hip clipping the South African backrower’s right shoulder.
Adam Ashley-Cooper scored a hat trick of tries to help Australia beat Argentina 29-15 in a breathless Rugby World Cup semifinal and set up a title match against neighbor New Zealand.
The Wallabies fed off mistakes by Argentina to score tries through Rob Simmons and Ashley-Cooper in the first 10 minutes, opening up a 14-0 lead. Ashley-Cooper then crossed for his second try, in the 32nd, to give Australia a 19-9 halftime lead.
The ambitious Pumas pulled to within a converted try at 22-15 thanks to Nicolas Sanchez’s fourth and fifth penalties, but Australia defended valiantly and clinched the game when Drew Mitchell’s 50-meter break led to a third try for fellow winger Ashley-Cooper in the 72nd.
It will be the first time Australia and New Zealand have met at a World Cup final, seven months after they played each other in the Cricket World Cup final. Australia won then.
Australia is a two-time world champion, having won both of its previous titles in Britain.
Adam Ashley-Cooper has scored two of Australia’s three tries to help the Wallabies to a 19-9 lead over error-prone Argentina at halftime of their Rugby World Cup semifinal at Twickenham.
In a tough first half for the Pumas – who were being watched by Diego Maradona – star winger Juan Imhoff and captain Agustin Creevy went off injured and lock Tomas Lavanini was sin-binned for a no-arm tackle on Israel Folau.
Australia was feeding off Argentina’s mistakes. Lock Rob Simmons intercepted Nicolas Sanchez’s inside pass to sprint over for Australia’s first try after 68 seconds, and from Santiago Cordero’s knock-on off a quick tap Bernard Foley’s long miss-pass sent in Ashley-Cooper in the right corner in the 10th.
Ashley-Cooper scored his second try – and his 10th at a World Cup – in the opposite corner, this time off Matt Giteau’s long pass, while Lavanini was in the sin-bin. That decision drew boos from the large contingent of Argentina fans in the stadium.
The Pumas were playing with ambition – too much at times – and were dominating the scrum, but had only three penalties from flyhalf Sanchez.
The losing semifinalists who have to play in the third-place playoff on Friday have the deepest sympathy of New Zealand coach Steve Hansen.
A day after his New Zealand side beat South Africa 20-18 to send the Springboks into what he calls ”that game,” he says, ”Personally, I wouldn’t want to play it. It’s difficult.
”Emotionally, when you get beaten and knocked out of the tournament, it knocks you around, especially if you get as close as they did to getting into the final. I know if it was a two-point margin the other way we wouldn’t feel like playing.
”Why do they play it? I’m not sure, no one’s ever told me, and I’ve never got around to asking. Is it another gate, another way to make some extra money? I’m not sure. Ask Brett Gosper, the CEO (of World Rugby).
”If you went to both teams, I’m sure they would say it’s really difficult to get back up and play that game after the emotional rollercoaster of being beaten in the semifinals.”
The All Blacks have played the third-place match in 1991 (won), 1999 (lost) and 2003 (lost).
The Pumas are hoping a trend at recent Rugby World Cups continues when they take on Australia for a spot in the final against defending champion New Zealand.
For the last two tournaments, the final has featured teams that played in the same pool in the group stage. Argentina lost 26-16 to New Zealand in its opening game in Pool C but has won four straight since then, including a 43-20 win over Six Nations champion Ireland in the quarterfinals. No team has lost a game and then gone on to win the title. Argentina has never played in a Rugby World Cup final and, by reaching the last four, has matched its performance from 2007.
Australia has won the Rugby World Cup twice, both previous times it has been staged in Britain. Both teams have finished their pre-game drills and practice and are almost ready for kickoff in the their semifinal at Twickenham.
A day after New Zealand beat South Africa in an attritional game in wet conditions, the weather at Twickenham is very different for the second semifinal.
Fans are milling about outside the home of English rugby on a chilly day under blue skies and sunshine. That should ensure an open, expansive game, which will suit both teams.
The Wallabies are known for their slick backline play, and the Pumas are gaining a similar reputation after years of playing 10-man rugby based on forward grunt.
It remains to be seen if Argentina reverts to type to combat Australia but scrumhalf Martin Landajo couldn’t have been more clear.
”We cannot go back to our forwards game,” Landajo said. ”We don’t know how to do that anymore.”
The teams have arrived at Twickenham.
As far as All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is concerned, Richie McCaw’s off-the-ball contact with South Africa’s Francois Louw in New Zealand’s 20-18 Rugby World Cup semifinal win is a non-issue.
Video of the first-half incident spread quickly on social media on Saturday night, with McCaw appearing to run into Louw, who was kneeling, as he ran around a ruck.
”Nothing in it, so there’s nothing to talk about,” Hansen told a Sunday news conference. ”Everyone’s got a bit excited, so move on.”
After the game, Hansen praised 147-test veteran McCaw as ”probably the greatest player we’ve ever seen.”
Argentina soccer great Diego Maradona promised he’d be back to watch the Pumas if they reached the Rugby World Cup semifinals.
It looks like he’s keeping his word.
World Rugby says Maradona is expected to attend the World Cup semifinal between Argentina and Australia at Twickenham on Sunday. Argentina is aiming to advance to the final for the first time.
Maradona was in the crowd at Leicester for Argentina’s pool-stage win over Tonga last month. He went into the Pumas’ changing room after the game, and sang and danced with players.