Rugby World Cup Day Eight round-up: Japan's mind games, Schmidt's referee worry and Cheika plays tennis
Day eight of the Rugby World Cup has come to a close in Japan - here's everything you need to know about what happened today.
Japan crank up the mind games
Japan have doubled down on their opinion that Ireland star Cian Healy is scrummaging illegally. The dominant prop is in the form of his life but his opposite number Yusuke Kizu thinks that the Leinster veteran is getting too much leeway from officials at the set-piece.
Kizu's coach, Jamie Joseph, took up the baton in his press conference ahead of the game and rather play down the remarks, he cranked up the pressure on referee Angus Gardner.
"We're coming up against a very strong scrum," Joseph said.
"Yes, at times they are illegal, but at all times they are a very strong scrum.
"We know that's a difficult part of the game, but we've really improved our scrum and lineout recently. And it's an area we've been focusing on all week."
It will be interesting to see how the scrum is officiated on Saturday because Gardner has also come in for scrutiny from another head coach...
International Rugby Newsletter
Schmidt returns fire
Despite Ireland's stellar start to their World Cup campaign, Joe Schmidt had one bone of contention following the 27-3 dismissal of Scotland - that his side lost the penalty count 7-6 despite bossing the encounter.
"It was annoying and surprising considering that a lot of what we did, we felt we were kind of on top in that game," he said of the opening clash.
Those remarks were an opening salvo in what was a spot of mind games ahead of the clash with Japan, with Schmidt bringing up Ireland's Six Nations defeat to Wales as a game where he felt his side were hard done by - and guess who had the whistle that day?
"We didn't play particularly well but we didn't feel we got a lot of the rub of the green from Angus either," said Schmidt.
"If you look back at the scrum we actually went straight through the middle of the Welsh scrum to get a turnover ball very early in the game and then when they ran around the corner we get no receipt (of penalties) from that and they were given penalty rewards, which was incredibly frustrating."
Again, watch this refereeing space this weekend.
Cheika not happy... again
Despite being one from one at the World Cup, Australia head coach Michael Cheika has spent the majority of his press engagements thus far venting his dissatisfaction at, first, the prospect of Reece Hodge getting banned for a high tackle in the opening game against Fiji and now, that Hodge received said ban.
The Aussie wing has been ruled out for the remaining three pool matches for his challenge on Pecili Yato, and in his latest media briefing, Cheika took aim at the decision - or played 'tennis', as he called it.
In particular, he singled out that World Rugby included in their judgement a comment from Hodge where he said he hasn't been briefed on the latest high tackle laws.
"There has been some chat about the players not being told about the framework: the judge put it in there," Cheika said.
"I want to make a couple of points. The framework is for referees, not the players, and used to decide whether there are red or yellow cards in a game. In my view, the officials in this tournament are using that framework very well.
"Second, our players are coached to tackle around the middle where they can dislodge the ball. We do not need the framework to tell them how to tackle. I am not sure where that is coming from and I do not know why it was put in the judgement.
"Reece was nervous while giving his evidence. There are people starving out there but they flew a QC over. When people are asking you questions and you have done nothing wrong you are nervous and may not have answers to all the questions on the top of your tongue. We thought we would just mention it. People are making a point about us so we thought we would make one back – a bit of tennis.
"I do not know why they did it. I do not particularly want to talk about this today because there is a part of it which is us versus everyone else. We know that and we are not going to let it derail us. We will suck it up and get focused on what is important – the match on Sunday. We are not going to let them get to us. We will concentrate on our footy and do our best for Australia."
Australia have their key pool game up next, against Warren Gatland's Wales side on Sunday.
An Ulsterman abroad
On the latest episode of The Left Wing- RWC Daily, Cian Tracey, Ruaidhri O'Connor and Jonathan Bradley chat about Peter Nelson's journey from the Ulster squad to starting at out-half for Canada at the World Cup.
Jack Conan's ankle injury is also up for discussion.
A big Saturday for Ireland but not as juicy as the opening weekend. Argentina vs Tonga starts things off at 5.45am, before Ireland and Japan get under way at 8.15, with South Africa vs Namibia finishing off the day at 10.45.
On Sunday, Georgia and Uruguay kicks off at 06.15 before the big one, Wales vs Australia, at 08.45.
Rugby World Cup fixtures and results
Pool A - IRELAND, SCOTLAND, JAPAN, RUSSIA, SAMOA
Japan 30 Russia 10 - Tokyo Stadium, Friday, September 20
Ireland 27 Scotland 3- International Stadium Yokohama. Sunday, September 22
Russia 9 Samoa 34 - Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Tuesday, September 24, 11.15am
Japan vs Ireland - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa. Saturday, September 28, 8.15am
Scotland vs Samoa - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Monday, September 30, 11.15am
Ireland vs Russia - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Thursday, October 3, 11.15am
Japan vs Samoa - City of Toyota Stadium, Saturday, October 5, 11.30am
Scotland vs Russia - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Wednesday, October 9, 8.15am
Ireland vs Samoa - Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Saturday, October 12, 11.45am
Pool B - NEW ZEALAND, SOUTH AFRICA, ITALY, NAMIBIA, CANADA
New Zealand 23 South Africa 13 - International Stadium Yokohama, Saturday, September 21
Italy 47 Namibia 22 - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Sunday, September 22
Italy 48 Canada 7 - Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Thursday, September 26, 8.45am
South Africa vs Namibia - City of Toyota Stadium, Saturday, September 28, 10.45am
New Zealand vs Canada - Oita Stadium, Wednesday, October 2, 11.15am
South Africa vs Italy - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Friday, October 4, 10.45am
New Zealand vs Namibia - Tokyo Stadium, Sunday, October 6, 5.45am
South Africa vs Canada - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Tuesday, October 8, 11.15am
New Zealand vs Italy - City of Toyota Stadium, Saturday, October 12, 5.45am
Namibia vs Canada - Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Sunday, October 13, 4.15am
Pool C - ENGLAND, FRANCE, ARGENTINA, USA, TONGA
France 23 Argentina 21 - Tokyo Stadium, Saturday, September 21
England 35 Tonga 3 - Sapporo Dome, Sunday, September 22
England 45 USA 7 - Kobe Misaki Stadium, Thursday, September 26
Argentina vs Tonga - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Saturday, September 28, 5.45am
France vs USA - Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Wednesday, October 2, 8.45am
England vs Argentina - Tokyo Stadium, Saturday, October 5, 9am
France vs Tonga - Kumamoto Stadium, Sunday, October 6, 8.45am
Argentina vs USA - Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Wednesday, October 9, 5.45am
England vs France - International Stadium Yokohama, Saturday, October 12, 9.15am
USA vs Tonga - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Sunday, October 13, 6.45am
Japan vs Scotland - International Stadium Yokohama, Sunday, October 13, 11.45am
Pool D - AUSTRALIA, WALES, GEORGIA, FIJI, URUGUAY
Australia 39 Fiji 21 - Sapporo Dome, Saturday, September 21, 5.45am
Wales 43 Georgia 14 - City of Toyota Stadium, Monday, September 23, 11.15am
Fiji 27 Uruguay 30 - Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, Wednesday, September 25, 6.15am
Georgia vs Uruguay - Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Sunday, September 29, 6.15am
Australia vs Wales - Tokyo Stadium, Sunday, September 29, 8.45am
Georgia vs Fiji - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Thursday, October 3, 6.15am
Australia vs Uruguay - Oita Stadium, Saturday, October 5, 6.15am
Wales vs Fiji - Oita Stadium, Wednesday, October 9, 10.45am
Australia vs Georgia - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Friday, October 11, 11.15am
Wales vs Uruguay - Kumamoto Stadium, Sunday, October 13, 9.15am
Quarter-Finals: October 19-20.
Semi-Finals: October 26-27.
Bronze Final: November 1.
Final: November 2.