Rugby World Cup 2011: News round-up
2011 RUGBY WORLD CUP IN NEW ZEALAND
- Venues: 11 (nine in North Island, two in South)
- Dates: Fri 9 Sept - Sun 23 Oct
- Kick-offs: From 0100 BST - 0930 BST
Coverage: Scores & reports on BBC Sport website plus live text commentaries on home nations and other major games; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; watch on ITV; commentary on TalkSport
A round-up of the latest news, views and gossip from the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
A major attempt to end, or at least curtail, the problems associated with the scrum is being made by a former Australian prop of Argentine extraction, Enrique "Topo" Rodriguez. The Sydney-based Rodriguez, who won 26 caps for the Wallabies, is in the process of producing a detailed publication focused solely on the scrum , after consulting around 150 ex-players and coaches around the world. (New Zealand Herald)
James Haskell reveals England will head into tomorrow's Rugby World Cup showdown with Romania fired up by an emotional speech from their straight-talking defence coach Mike Ford.
Leinster Lock Leo Cullen will lead an Ireland side featuring 10 changes for the Pool C match with Russia in Rotorua on Sunday.
Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi has overcome a rib injury to be named at inside centre for Sunday's crucial Pool B match against Scotland. He will start in the No 12 jersey, with Santiago Fernandez at fly-half.
Scotland team doctor James Robson believes it is asking too much of players to play two World Cup fixtures in just a few days, following debate over the short turnaround in matches, particularly for the perceived lesser nations.
Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones is poised to finally break Wales' international appearance record in the World Cup clash against Namibia on Monday, having had to wait seven weeks to do so following his withdrawal from Wales' opening World Cup warm-up Test match with England.
France coach Marc Lievremont insists his team will aim to win against New Zealand on Saturday, despite picking a weakened team, leading to suggestions he was happy to lose and thus qualify from Pool A into the more favourable side of the draw.
Former All Blacks scrum-half Byron Kelleher insisted Saturday's crunch World Cup clash between New Zealand and France is more than a game, it's a battle for national honour. "France is our bogey team at the World Cup," said Kelleher.
New Zealand beat Japan 83-7, Namibia shipped 87 without reply against South Africa and seven Rugby World Cup pool matches have ended with victory margins of 30 points or more. Does the sport benefit from such mismatches ? (Guardian)
Italy hooker Tommaso D'Apice has been ruled out of the World Cup after injuring knee ligaments and is to be replaced by Franco Sbaraglini. D'Apice was injured in the Italians' 53-17 victory over Russia on Tuesday and will be sidelined for about three weeks.
There is reportedly discord among the volunteer choirs performing national anthems before World Cup matches after members were told they would not receive tickets to the tournament's major matches. One chorister said the unpaid singers were "gutted" after discovering they would have to leave match venues after their performances, instead of being allowed to watch the games they helped introduce.
A farmer's way of showing his backing for the World Cup has landed him with a bill of NZ$2,350 (£1,192) after he accidentally cut the electricity supply to 560 customers in North Otago last weekend. Doug McIntyre, who farms in the town of Twizel, put a flagpole and flags on a travelling irrigator but they failed to clear a line owned by Network Waitaki and so caused a power shortage of more than two hours for some households.