Japan left Scotland standing with an electrifying performance in Yokohama that carried them through to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

Playing 21st century rugby against a side that looked bereft of invention until the jig was up, Japan roared to a 28-21 victory and set up a showdown with South Africa next Sunday in Tokyo.

South Africa, then. Even if it had not been for the Miracle of Brighton four years ago, the Springboks would have good reason to be fearful of these Brave Blossoms.

But Japan's stunning victory over the Boks in their last World Cup meeting will colour the build-up to that game, and based on this showing the Rugby Championship winners could have their hands full.

Four wins out of four is Japan's record as hosts, with tries from Kotaro Matsushima, Keita Inagaki, Kenki Fukuoka propelling them to a 21-7 half-time lead, and another from Fukuoka early in the second half effectively sealing the deal.

Scotland had threatened legal action if this match did not go ahead, which was a concern after the deadly Typhoon Hagibis caused havoc in Japan.

But if there was relief in the Scottish camp that it would be played, when that announcement came earlier on Sunday, they only briefly looked capable of securing the handsome win they needed to pip their opponents to a place in the last eight.

Finn Russell darted in for a seventh-minute try, finding a gap as Japan's defence showed early fragility, and Greig Laidlaw booted the extras.

From then on, though, Scotland were largely camped in their own half, Japan sensational in attack. Matsushima sprinted in from the left wing after an offload from fellow wing Fukuoka for Japan's first try - his fifth of this World Cup - in the 18th minute.

William Tupou burst through a line of Scottish defence before feeding Inagaki to surge over from close range for the second try eight minutes later, and Japan were rewarded with a third on the stroke of half-time, Fukuoka collecting a perfect grubber from Timothy Lafaele.

Yu Tamura added conversions to each try. Had he not missed a pair of penalties, Scotland would have been out of the contest.

When Fukuoka wrested the ball from enemy hands and scorched through from midfield for Japan's fourth try in the 43rd minute, the home side had a bonus point in the bag and Scotland needed the mother of all fightbacks.

WP Nel burrowed over for a swift Scottish response, and Zander Fagerson powered through for a third Scottish try.

It is so often the hope that kills Scottish sport fans. At 28-21 in arrears, here was hope. But as the minutes ticked by, with Japan holding firm and the Scots increasingly desperate, needing a slew of scores, so the points dried up.

Scotland face a long trip home. Japan's journey at their home World Cup continues.

 

Wing wonders look match for anyone

Matsushima and Fukuoka were irrepressible for Japan, with their pace, opportunism and inventive raiding on the wings at times embarrassing Scotland. South Africa will need to be on their toes next weekend, and will surely handle the Japan dangermen better than the Scots managed.

 

Tier two? Not for long

How Japan build on this World Cup will be intriguing. Until the 2015 tournament they had just one victory from seven World Cup appearances, but now they are making winning a habit. They look a side worthy of being reclassified as a tier-one outfit, and days such as this will only strengthen the rugby culture in the nation.

 

What's next?

Japan will face South Africa in Tokyo next Sunday, meaning Ireland must face the All Blacks next Saturday. Scotland return home to lick their wounds.

Wales coach Warren Gatland and captain Justin Tipuric bemoaned a host of wasteful moments before their side closed out an uneven 35-13 Rugby World Cup victory over Uruguay.

The Six Nations Grand Slam-winners booked a quarter-final showdown against France with four wins out of four in Pool D, but they were made to work by an industrious Uruguay side.

Following a tournament-opening win over Fiji, the South Americans were able to sniff an even bigger shock when they went in only 7-6 behind at the interval.

But Josh Adams' fifth try of the World Cup and efforts from Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies alongside a penalty try and Nicky Smith's first-half score amounted to a comfortable margin of victory in the end.

"I'm happy with four from four but not too happy with some of tonight," Gatland said.

"We were poor at times, not clinical, too many turnovers in that first half and probably blew about four or five chances.

"But the boys showed a little bit of character and in the second half we started being a bit more direct. We were probably trying to play a bit too much rugby

"They're a tough outfit, they're tenacious, make the tackles and they're a tidy little side.

"We probably didn't respect the ball enough, a lot of turnovers and then second half we were more direct and earned the right to play. We were a bit better."

In Tipuric's assessment, Wales were even more profligate.

"We know we've got to do a lot better than that but we came away with a bonus-point win," he said.

"Uruguay didn't stop from the beginning to the end. They're a tough bunch of boys. We know that we probably left five or six tries out there as well."

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny landed four conversions and was named man of the match.

"We just got a bit loose at times, didn't keep hold of the ball. But once we kept the ball, we put them under pressure and eventually converted that pressure into points," Halfpenny said.

"At half-time the message was, 'Let's look after the ball, let's not panic'. We felt in control, we were just spilling the ball."

Max Verstappen hit out at Charles Leclerc for "irresponsible driving" at the Japanese Grand Prix after the pair tangled on the first lap, landing the Ferrari driver a penalty.

Red Bull's Verstappen got a good launch from fifth place on the grid but was hit by Leclerc, who started second, at turn two in Suzuka, prompting him to spin off the track.

The Ferrari driver was forced to pit due to damage to his front wing, but recovered to finish sixth, though post-race penalties for him and his team led to that becoming seventh.

Verstappen, though, suffered an irreparable problem and retired soon after complaining of movement under braking.

Initially, race stewards deemed the incident not worthy of investigation but they then changed their mind, eventually saying they would speak to both drivers and conclude their review after the race.

Lerclerc received 15 seconds' worth of time penalties - five for his role in the incident and 10 because Ferrari, who were also fined €25,000, did not pit him soon enough with a damaged car.

Verstappen was in no doubt over who was to blame, telling Sky Sports: "What more should he do to get a penalty?

"I like hard racing, but I don't think this was hard racing, I think it was irresponsible driving into turn two. 

"He had a bad start so for sure he was trying to recover places but there's only so much you can do. It's a shame that it happens.

"We had a really good start for once, that was a positive, and then I just stayed on the outside and suddenly into turn two, Charles drove into the side of my car.

"From my side I don't think I could have done anything different there. We all know that you lose downforce behind the car so that is not an excuse and I think he is experienced enough to know that.

"The weird thing is they didn't investigate it right away. My whole car is destroyed. The whole side. There are just holes in the side of the car. And now they will investigate it after the race."

Speaking before he had been called to the stewards, Leclerc - who also received two penalty points on his license - was unsure over whether he would be punished.

"I understeered being behind Sebastian and Lewis, and then we touched," said the Monegasque.

"I haven't seen the full situation from the outside. From the car it was just a tricky situation. I have no idea [about a penalty], I need to see the incident."

Josh Adams scored his fifth try of the Rugby World Cup as Wales beat Uruguay 35-13 at Kumamoto Stadium to set up a quarter-final against France.

Warren Gatland's side made hard work of sealing top spot in Pool D, but scored five tries to ensure they will face Les Bleus at Oita Stadium next Sunday, while Australia will meet England at the same venue 24 hours earlier.

Nicky Smith scored the only five-pointer of the first half and Adams become the outright leading try-scorer in the tournament after the break, with Tomos Williams and Gareth Davies also crossing after Wales were awarded a penalty try. 

Uruguay were magnificent in defence as they bowed out with a spirited performance, German Kessler scoring their only try and Felipe Berchesi notching eight points with the boot.

Hallam Amos had three tries ruled out, but Wales made it four wins out of four to finish three points clear of the Wallabies despite being a long way from their best, Halfpenny converting four times in a man-of-the-match display.

Wales were disjointed in the opening stages but were eventually rewarded for applying huge pressure when prop Smith breached a resolute Uruguay defence, powering over from close range after 16 minutes.

Berchesi reduced the deficit to four points with a fine strike from the tee after Halfpenny converted Smith's score, and Amos was denied Wales' second try due to a forward pass from Hadleigh Parkes.

Handling errors prevented the Six Nations champions from getting into a rhythm and a second Berchesi penalty made it 7-6 at the break.

The clinical in-form Adams gave Wales breathing space when he took an inviting pass from Rhys Patchell to finish in the corner, Halfpenny expertly nailing a difficult conversion.

Amos had another score disallowed, again for a forward pass from Parkes, but referee Angus Gardner awarded Wales a penalty try when Uruguay were unable to legally stop a driving maul after Santiago Civetta was sin-binned.

Kessler had a moment to remember when he dived over with a pick-and-go before Williams picked up a loose ball to grab the bonus-point try, with Halfpenny converting superbly.

Amos was frustrated again when he lost control as he went to touch down, but Davies raced away long after the clock had turned red to go under the posts and Halfpenny converted, leaving the scoreline looking harsh on Uruguay.

Daniil Medvedev's remarkable 2019 continued with a straight-sets defeat of Alexander Zverev in the final of the Shanghai Masters on Sunday.

Medvedev, for whom it was a second 1000 Masters Series triumph of the year following his victory in Cincinnati, won 6-4 6-1 in an hour and 13 minutes with Zverev unable to cap a resurgent week in style.

The German was the architect of his own downfall in parts, particularly at the end of the first set, but Medvedev was a deserving winner, registering his tour-leading 59th victory of the season in his sixth successive final.

It was that form that prompted Zverev to describe his opponent as "the best player in the world right now", and Medvedev looked a man full of confidence in the early stages, quickly establishing a 3-0 lead.

Zverev hit back, though, displaying flashes of the form that saw him beat Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, by levelling it at 3-3.

It remained on serve until Medvedev's relentless baseline approach finally created pressure, under which Zverev buckled.

Serving at 4-5, 30-all, the German threw in two double faults to drop the first set and hand the Russian an advantage he never looked like relinquishing.

A missed break-point opportunity for Zverev at the start of the second set reinforced the suspicion it wasn't going to be his day, and more generosity from the fifth seed enabled Medvedev to break from 40-0 down to claim a 2-0 lead.

Another break made it 4-0 and although Zverev managed to avoid the bagel, he was powerless to prevent Medvedev from backing up his win in St Petersburg three weeks ago.

Medvedev, who has not dropped a set since going down in five to Rafael Nadal in the final of the US Open, said: "Shanghai is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the tour. It's really special to have my photo in the corridor."

On his remarkable run, he added: "It's something outrageous what I have done the past few months. It is how it is, I just take it and I hope I can do much more."

Canada players took to the streets of Kamaishi to help with recovery efforts after Typhoon Hagibis prevented them facing Namibia in the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

World Rugby and the Japan 2019 Organising Committee cancelled the final Pool B match on safety grounds after one of the most powerful storms for decades swept through the country.

Although Canada were unable to end the tournament with a first victory at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium, they rolled their sleeves up for physical endeavours off the field.

Players headed out to assist with the clean-up operation in a city that was battered by torrential rain and fierce winds over the weekend.

A tweet from Rugby World Cup showed a video clip of members of the squad helping locals and hailed the players for "showing the true value of the game."

Sebastian Vettel conceded he had made a mistake and produced a "really poor start" as he failed to convert pole position into a victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Ferrari had secured a shock front-row lockout in qualifying, which finished just three hours before the race started on Sunday after Typhoon Hagibis wreaked havoc with the weekend schedule.

But Vettel, who was on pole for the first time in 10 races, appeared to move early before stopping himself to avoid a jump-start penalty.

He could only watch on as eventual race winner Valtteri Bottas surged into the lead from third on the grid and ended the race more concerned with holding off Lewis Hamilton to finish in second place.

"The lights were on a long time, but it was my mistake so I lost the momentum there," Vettel said.

"It ended up worse than just having a poor start, it was a really poor start.

"Then it was difficult because Mercedes were quite quick in the race, especially at the back of the stint they had more pace than us.

"They could play a lot more tactics [after my poor start] because they had one car out ahead in the lead and we weren't a threat to him.

"Valtteri was flying at the end of the first stint, then Lewis tried to do one stop and I guess it didn't work. I knew that he would come up behind in the end. 

"I just paced myself around all the bits of the track where I could and just tried to get good exits at the points where he was a threat. That worked but obviously it was a tough afternoon to maintain second."

While taking the blame for his slow start, Vettel was not convinced Ferrari would have had the race pace to win in any case.

"With the lack of pace, second is probably the maximum but for sure I'm still not happy with the start," said the German, whose team-mate Charles Leclerc suffered a first-lap clash with Max Verstappen.

"After that it was fine overall and it has been a positive day. With everything packed into one day, to get pole and second is reasonable. It is a shame about what happened to Charles as we could have challenged a bit more."

Leclerc finished in sixth place and the results meant Mercedes claimed a sixth consecutive constructors' championship with four races to spare.

Valtteri Bottas spoke of his pride at being part of Mercedes after the team won a sixth consecutive constructors' championship at a Japanese Grand Prix where the Finn came out on top.

Mercedes have matched Ferrari's Formula One record from Michael Schumacher's era in 1999-2004 by winning six straight team titles.

They are now also guaranteed to win six consecutive driver and constructor double championships, which has never been done before.

Bottas won his first race in 13 attempts at Suzuka on Sunday, with Sebastian Vettel and team-mate Lewis Hamilton completing the podium positions.

"I'm really proud to be part of the team," Bottas said after his victory.

"A sixth title in a row is so impressive and I'm proud of every single team member here at the race and the factory, so well done guys and girls."

Bottas had won two of the first four races of 2019 in Australia and Azerbaijan but had struggled to match the pace of Hamilton since the April triumph in Baku.

But in a weekend disrupted by Typhoon Hagibis, he was the quickest driver in Friday's practice and, after Ferrari had secured a surprise front-row lock-out in the re-arranged qualifying hours before the race, Bottas surged from third on the grid to lead into the first corner.

"I'm happy, very happy," added Bottas, who capitalised on a slow start from pole-sitter Vettel.

"Obviously it was a pretty close qualifying and starting third here is never easy here but you never give up and anything is possible - opportunities were there.

"I had a really nice start and obviously Sebastian had an issue so I managed to get the lead and then the pace was super good. I could really control the race. I really enjoyed it and had fun.

"We knew that one- or two-stop strategies were both possible and there's not a massive difference between it. We knew either could be a scenario. Everything went smoothly. I could control it and push where I wanted."

Hamilton, who claimed the fastest lap, saw his lead in the drivers' championship reduced to 64 points.

He had repeatedly voiced frustration with Mercedes' strategy in the race which left him well adrift of Bottas and Vettel after the first round of pit stops. 

"Firstly it's congratulations to the team, so well deserved to win it six times in a row," he said in a frosty post-race interview in parc ferme that was soon brought to an abrupt close.

"That’s the main point. I really just wanted to get the best points for the team.

"[Winning the constructors' title] makes no difference [with the drivers' title] because we've been racing freely all year. For sure [it will be a hard fight with Bottas]."

Tonga avoided finishing bottom of Pool C at the Rugby World Cup after overcoming the United States 31-19 on Sunday.

With both teams already eliminated, Tonga bowed out on a winning note by scoring four tries to USA's three in Higashiosaka.

Tonga trailed USA 12-7 at half-time after substitute Mike Te'o had grabbed a brace shortly after coming on.

But Tonga rallied to snap a run of five consecutive losses, which was their joint-worst streak at a World Cup.

Tonga started brightly and opened the scoring in the 17th minute thanks to Siegfried Fisiihoi, who bundled himself over after some desperate USA defending had initially held up the Tongans – with Sonatane Takulua adding the extras.

However, Tonga's 7-0 lead was short-lived as USA responded in brilliant fashion four minutes later.

USA sliced Tonga open – quick hands finding Te'o, who was too slick for his opponents on the wing and AJ MacGinty nailed the conversion to level proceedings.

Te'o was at it again in the 26th minute as USA turned the match on its head. The wing found himself in acres of space to stroll in, though MacGinty was unable to convert.

Tonga trailed 12-7 at the break after a golden opportunity went begging – Fisiihoi broke the lines but Ruben de Haas reached in for a tackle and broke the ball loose with five minutes remaining.

It was a Tonga onslaught to start the second half as they looked to strike back, and they reduced the deficit via Takulua's 51st-minute penalty.

Tonga regained the lead as the hour mark approached as Telusa Veainu's kick forward, with no one ahead, bounced favourably and allowed Mali Hingano to eventually sprint clear under the sticks.

After Takulua successfully converted, the tiring Americans conceded again four minutes later as retiring captain Siale Piutau weaved his way past three opponents to stretch Tonga's advantage to 24-12.

Tony Lamborn's late try set up a grand-stand finish but Veainu's five-pointer after the siren made sure of Tonga's first victory of this year's tournament.

 

Tonga send Piutau out a winner

In his final international match, 34-year-old Piutau scored a try and celebrated a victory in a dream Tonga farewell.

Te'o double not enough for USA

A pair of first-half tries from Te'o had USA dreaming against Tonga. However, his efforts were not enough as the United States matched their worst run in World Cup games – 10 straight defeats.

What's next?

Both teams are heading home after a spirited effort at the showpiece tournament, with England and France qualifying from Pool C.

Valtteri Bottas claimed his first Formula One victory in 13 races at the Japanese Grand Prix as Mercedes claimed a sixth consecutive constructors' championship on Sunday.

Ferrari had secured a surprise front-row lockout in qualifying - which was moved to the morning of the race due to Typhoon Hagibis - but Sebastian Vettel paid the price for a poor start from pole position and had to settle for second place.

Lewis Hamilton was third and added another point for the fastest lap as his lead in the drivers' championship over Bottas was reduced to 64 points.

Max Verstappen had to retire after a first-lap incident with Charles Leclerc, who recovered to finish in sixth position behind Red Bull's Alex Albon and McLaren driver Carlos Sainz.

Mercedes became the second team in history to win six straight team titles after Ferrari's run with Michael Schumacher from 1999-2004.

And they are now guaranteed to be the first outfit to win six straight driver and constructor doubles, with Hamilton or Bottas the only drivers who can mathematically win the title.

Oleksandr Usyk started life in the heavyweight division with a seventh-round stoppage of Chazz Witherspoon.

Former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Usyk was making his heavyweight debut in Chicago on Saturday, having made the step up.

Usyk (17-0) was a class above as the Ukrainian forced an exhausted Witherspoon to retire following the seventh round at Wintrust Arena.

Witherspoon was the opponent for Usyk in his first heavyweight fight after replacing Tyrone Spong (14-0) – who was denied a boxing license by the Illinois State Athletic Commission after there were adverse findings in two of his urine tests.

But American Witherspoon (38-4) – the second cousin of former champion Tim – was no match for Usyk as the 2012 Olympic Games gold medallist dominated throughout.

"I was waiting for this moment," Usyk said afterwards. "We had some little difficulties because we have to change opponents.

"I didn't show it to anybody, but I had some bad thoughts float into my head. I just prayed a little bit, I asked Him to help me and it looks like he helped me."

Usyk added: "I did what my trainer told me to do. I just followed orders. We had a plan and the plan was to box and I did box. If there was an opportunity, I would use that opportunity."

It was Usyk's first bout in almost a year following the 32-year-old's victory over Tony Bellew at cruiserweight in November 2018.

"There is a little bit of difference, but I used to fight as a heavyweight [as an amateur]. But yes, it was different," Usyk said.

"I am ready, I am ready to fight whoever. If they give me the mandatory [title shot] then of course I am ready to take it."

Dmitry Bivol defended his WBA light-heavyweight title with a unanimous decision win over Lenin Castillo.

Bivol was too good for Castillo in Chicago, where the judges scored the fight 120-107, 119-108 and 119-108 in favour of the Russian.

In the co-main event prior to Oleksandr Usyk's showdown against Chazz Witherspoon, Bivol comfortably eased past his opponent on Saturday.

Bivol dropped Castillo (20-3-1) to the canvas in the sixth round and he continued to outbox the Dominican fighter for the remainder of the bout.

The 28-year-old Bivol improved to 17-0 with 11 knockouts following the 12-round domination at Wintrust Arena.

The New York Yankees drew first blood after shutting out the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

Masahiro Tanaka dealt, Gleyber Torres dominated and Houston made mistakes in the ALCS opener on Saturday.

Now the Astros turn to Justin Verlander for Game 2 with hopes of stopping the bleeding in the MLB playoffs.

The Yankees counter with James Paxton.

 

Three takeaways from the Yankees' ALCS Game 1 win over the Astros

Inexcusable

Every single out in this series could matter. It may very well be a sweep by the Yankees, but if it goes how everyone thinks it will, this could be a very long and drawn out series. Taking that into account, Alex Bregman cannot make the mistake he made in the fifth inning of Game 1.

And let's make this clear, yes, Aaron Judge produced a great play reeling in a line-drive shot off the bat of Yordan Alvarez, but Bregman was absolutely in the wrong here. On the play in question with Houston down 1-0, Alvarez hit a line drive to right with Bregman on first base. It might have looked like a hit, but it was not a sure thing. Bregman took his lead off first and did not go halfway. He looked like he was trying to get a head start on getting to third, but Judge caught the ball.

Yes, Bregman slipped on his way getting back but he was way too far off the base in the first place. Judge then caught Bregman with relative ease to double him up at first and the Astros' chance was over.

Bregman is an MVP candidate, but that was not an MVP play. And the Yankees did win this game by seven runs, but in a one-run game, that mistake is inexcusable.

Did you hear? Gleyber Torres is 22

We poke a little bit of fun here because it would seem that every single Twitter account has 22 written in massive numbers next to Gleyber Torres' name and it is required to mention it every time he breathes. But what he has done this postseason is incredibly impressive regardless of his age.

Torres drove in five runs in Game 1 and now has nine runs batted in in during the 2019 playoffs. It cannot be ignored how good he has been this postseason and he only has a little way to go before he catches up with Juan Soto who is 20. Get that? He is 20.

Again, we joke. Torres has been awesome and he deserves a ton of credit for the Yankees' success.

We told you this could happen

When Masahiro Tanaka was announced as the Game 1 starter for the Yankees some people were surprised. We were not. Tanaka has been lights out in his postseason career and he has been doubly as good against the Astros.

Coming into Game 1, Tanaka had a 2.00 ERA (four runs in 18 innings) in three career playoff starts against the Astros. He had given up just two runs over his previous 13 innings against them. The Astros struggle against him and it is not surprising at all that he gave up just one hit and no runs in six innings of work in Game 1.

The Astros tend to struggle against men who really know how to pitch. That is why they struggled with Charlie Morton this year and David Price last year, but they got to guys like Tyler Glasnow and Chris Sale. If a pitcher knows how to work the corners and keep guys off balance the Astros can struggle. That is exactly why they had issues with Tanaka and likely will again in a potential Game 5.

Sebastian Vettel sealed a stunning pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix as Ferrari locked out the front row ahead of Mercedes.

Qualifying was moved from Saturday to Sunday – the morning of the race – due to Typhoon Hagibis – and Vettel tamed difficult track conditions to earn front position.

In sunny but windy conditions, four-time world champion Vettel clocked a new track record of one minute, 27.064 seconds at Suzuka Circuit.

It was Vettel's first pole position since the Canadian Grand Prix as the German star finished ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Ferrari's sensational performance – the team's fifth successive pole – left Mercedes pair Valtteri Bottas and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton in the second row.

Vettel and Ferrari locked out the front row for the first time at Suzuka since 2006, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen fifth quickest.

"The conditions were very different to what we had on Friday, but the main thing is obviously the sun is out, people are happy," Vettel said after two red flags delayed proceedings in Q1.

"I think we were quite surprised, to be honest. We didn't expect that, to have the front row. So very happy.

"It was unbelievable, the car being so light on fuel and new tyres, and we had headwind up the Esses, which is what you want because then the car feels even better. I don't think I used the brakes other than Turn 2!

"It was unbelievable. I really enjoyed it, but it's only part of the job done. Let's look forward to this afternoon."

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:27.174secs
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.189s
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.229s
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.238s
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.787s 
6. Alexander Albon (Red Bull) +0.787s
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +1.240s
8. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.400s
9. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) +1.772s
10. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +2.277s

Scotland's crucial Rugby World Cup clash with hosts Japan will go ahead as scheduled following the passing of Typhoon Hagibis.

Sunday's Pool A fixture in Yokohama was under threat of cancellation with the severe storm approaching Japan's east coast, bringing extreme winds and torrential downpours.

Three World Cup fixtures had already been wiped out, with Sunday's Pool B match between Namibia and Canada cancelled due to the impact of the typhoon in Kamaishi.

However, quarter-final hopefuls Scotland will take to the field to face Japan at Yokohama International Stadium, World Rugby and Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee announced on the day of the game.

"The decision was taken following a comprehensive assessment of the venue and associated infrastructure on Sunday morning in partnership with the Host City," a statement read.

"World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee would like to thank everyone involved for their significant efforts to enable the match to be played as scheduled following one of [the] largest and most powerful typhoons to hit Japan in recent years."

With the game going ahead, it opens up a number of permutations as there are try-scoring and losing bonus points up for grabs, but if the teams should finish level in the group Scotland would progress on the basis of winning the head-to-head contest.

Japan occupy second position behind Ireland in Pool A with three wins from as many games, four points clear of Scotland as the quarter-finals loom.

Former World Series champion and MVP David Freese announced his retirement from MLB after 11 seasons.

Freese, 36, called it quits on Saturday following the Los Angeles Dodgers' National League Division Series loss to the Washington Nationals.

"Family friends, team-mates, coaches, and fans that handed out support especially when your lives were already full, you helped me more than you know," Freese wrote in a statement via Twitter,

"You took a 23-year-old kid out of college and pushed him to 36 ... As I more forward with the next phase of my life, I am forever grateful to all of you and the game of baseball."

Freese made his debut with the St Louis Cardinals in 2009 and is best known for his dominant performance in the 2011 postseason, where he hit .397 with five homers and a playoff record 21 RBIs.

He won NL Championship Series and World Series MVP for the Cardinals, hitting the game-tying triple and walk-off home run in Game 6 of the World Series to help St Louis capture their 11th championship.

Over the course of his career, Freese played for the Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates and most recently the Dodgers, where he hit .315 with 11 homers and 29 RBIs in 79 games this season.

Freese – an All-Star in 2012 – finishes his career with 113 home runs, 535 RBIs and a slash line of .277/.351/.423.

Lanto Griffin catapulted himself into the Houston Open lead with a seven-under-par 65 in round three.

Griffin climbed 16 positions as the surging American claimed a one-stroke advantage atop the leaderboard on Saturday.

Seeking his maiden PGA Tour title, Griffin had nine birdies and a pair of bogeys to become the man to beat heading into the final round.

A stretch of three consecutive birdies from the third to fifth holes set the tone for Griffin, who dropped a shot at the ninth prior to the turn.

It was a mere blip as Griffin birdied five of his next six holes and six of eight before bogeying the 18th to be 11 under overall in Humble, Texas.

Fellow American Mark Hubbard is within touching distance of Griffin following his 69, while Cameron Tringale (68), Beau Hossler (68) and overnight leader Peter Malnati (73) are a shot further back at nine under.

Malnati was a shot clear heading into the third round, but five bogeys and four birdies saw him drop into a tie for third at the Golf Club of Houston.

Carlos Ortiz (71), Brandon Wu (69), Austin Cook (70), Scott Harrington (72), Sepp Straka (72) and Talor Gooch (72) are eight under.

James Roby believes he has never played in a better St Helens side than the one that claimed Super League Grand Final glory on Saturday.

Saints beat shock finalists Salford Red Devils 23-6 at Old Trafford to secure a first title in five years and ensure a fitting farewell for departing head coach Justin Holbrook, who is returning to the NRL with Gold Coast Titans.

After dominating the regular season in 2018, Holbrook's men were found wanting at the semi-final stage, but their dominance of the competition was rewarded on this occasion as they beat rivals Wigan Warriors and Salford in the play-offs having lost just three league games all year.

Veteran hooker Roby, who made his 450th appearance for the club on Saturday, is no stranger to success with Saints, having claimed multiple Grand Final victories and a Man of Steel award in a fantastic 15-year career on Merseyside.

Asked in a news conference how the current crop compares to previous great St Helens sides he has featured in, Roby said: "I think it's hard to compare teams from different eras but, in my opinion, this team is the best for a number of reasons.

"Just the calibre of the blokes we've got. There's no bad apples, if you like, in the group. We're really strong, connected, and the work ethic that drives everything we do [is key].

"We've got a full team of grafters, really, who will do whatever they need to do to get the job done. I think that showed on the field this year. I'm hugely proud and privileged to be able to call myself the captain. To lift the trophy is a dream come true.

"At the end of the day, we deserve it. We finished the season 16 points clear, we've been so consistent, so dominant if you like, but we had to get over the line today. Luckily we did."

Props Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson played an integral role in Saints' win over Salford, the latter collecting the Harry Sunderland Trophy for the man of the match following a sensational 72-minute stint.

"I feel sweet, I feel like I could do another 72," said Thompson with a smile.

"It's just an unbelievable feeling. We've worked so hard all year as a group and we work hard every week in training. We're made up to do the job for Justin and send him home with some silverware."

The Washington Nationals are in control of the National League Championship Series after defeating the St Louis Cardinals 3-1 in Game 2.

Washington will return to the American capital with a 2-0 lead thanks to Saturday's victory in St Louis.

Max Scherzer did not give up a hit until the seventh inning, while Adam Eaton plated two with a double in the top of the eighth to all but put the game away.

Now, the Nationals send another ace to the mound in Stephen Strasburg – who is coming off two great starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series.

The Cardinals will counter with their ace Jack Flaherty in the MLB playoffs.

 

Three takeaways from the Nationals' Game 2 NLCS win over the Cardinals

Where has all the hitting gone?

The Cardinals have forgotten how to hit. There is no nicer way to put it. It took St Louis 7.6 innings in Game 1 to get a hit and they had just one in nine innings. Then in Game 2 on Saturday, they took six innings to register their first hit once again. But the failures do not stop there. Even in St Louis' 13-1 win against the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the NLDS, the Cardinals had their struggles. They failed to tally a single hit over the final five innings of that game.

Now, the question here is, should we have seen this coming? That is a hard declaration to make. However, St Louis were 23rd in MLB in hits and batting average this season and 19th in runs scored. Hitting was not the team's strong suit, so they were bound to have some struggles against a Nationals team that were eighth in baseball in hits allowed and seventh in opponents' on-base percentage.

But one thing the Cardinals can hang their hat on is they are not alone in not being able to hit Scherzer in Anibal Sanchez. While going five innings over the first two games of a postseason series is bad, the Boston Red Sox did the same thing in the 2013 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. What is amazing about that though is it was the same two pitchers in Scherzer and Sanchez. You cannot make this stuff up.

The postseason isn't always about the stars

Bucky Dent, Geoff Blum, Steve Pearce and David Eckstein. Absolutely none of these men are household names but every single one of them had an impact on postseason series, and sometimes World Series as Pearce and Eckstein were named MVPs of the Fall Classic.

Michael A. Taylor was supposed to be the Nationals' next big thing a little more than five years ago, but injuries and poor performance got him passed up by Victor Robles. But with Robles' injury in the NLDS this year, Taylor was thrust into a starting role and boy did he make use of it in Game 2. Taylor smacked a home run off Adam Wainwright in the third inning to open up the scoring and give the Nationals some early confidence on the road.

He went two for four in the game. And yes, he made a defensive mistake in the bottom of the eighth, but it ultimately did not hurt the team too bad.

Taylor also was a mini hero at the end of the NLDS when he made a wonderful diving catch to end the series. Taylor might not be getting paid $200million when he possibly becomes a free agent after the 2020 season, but this performance could earn him a decent payday when he gets his chance.

Turn back the clock

To say Adam Wainwright's performance this postseason has been a revelation is far from hyperbole. After tossing 7.6 innings of shut-out ball in Game 3 of the NLDS, he turned around and worked into the eighth inning again in Game 2 of the NLCS on Saturday.

This is the guy who was throwing 83 mph when coming back from a rash of injuries over the last few years. He is the guy who pitched 28 innings in 2015, 40.3 innings in 2018 and 123.3 innings in 2017. He is 38 years old. And while he was OK this year breaking the 170-inning mark and posting an ERA of 4.19, it is pretty fair to ask where this came from.

But we are not complaining. This was a reminder of the guy who struck out Carlos Beltran to send the Cardinals to the World Series and the man who was on the mound when St Louis beat the Tigers to clinch a championship. This has been fun to watch and we are here to thank Mr. Wainwright because we enjoyed every minute.

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