World Cup gossip: Robshaw, Farrell, Lancaster, Gatland, Zebo
|Rugby World Cup|
|Hosts: England Dates: 18 September-31 October|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC local radio, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.|
|Further coverage: BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio.|
Sunday, 27 September
England captain Chris Robshaw says he must take full responsibility for the late decision to turn down a penalty kick that would have earned a draw against Wales. (Mail on Sunday)
And fly-half Owen Farrell says he would have backed himself to make the kick from near the right-hand touchline. (Mail on Sunday)
However, head coach Stuart Lancaster refused to blame Robshaw's decision for the defeat. (Sunday Mirror)
Wales coach Warren Gatland believes his side triumphed because they wanted it more than England. (Observer)
Wales centre Scott Williams, 24, could be out of the tournament, with Gatland saying his knee injury "doesn't look good". (ITV Sport)
They may have beaten England, but Australia legend Michael Lynagh says he "wouldn't bet his mortgage" on Wales overcoming Fiji on Thursday.(Sunday Times - subscription required)
Ireland wing Simon Zebo says he has become a better player under meticulous coach Joe Schmidt. (Sunday Telegraph)
Robshaw got a tweet from an unlikely source - Hollywood actor Samuel L Jackson.
Saturday, 26 September
England fly-half Owen Farrell says he has not fallen out with team-mate George Ford after being controversially selected ahead of him for Saturday's crunch match with Wales. (Guardian)
England forwards coach Graham Rowntree says Wales will have "some doubts in their minds" having lost their last two meetings with England. (Daily Mirror)
Dropped England hooker Dylan Hartley says England's strength off the bench will help them beat Wales - but concedes their next pool opponents Australia will be "very tough to beat". (The Sun - subscription required)
World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward says he "won't be surprised if it all kicks off" at Twickenham - but backs England to prevail by three points. (Daily Mail)
Wales wing George North admits that Warren Gatland's training plan may have left him "undercooked". (The Times - subscription required)
The Wales squad were presented with their match jerseys for the Pool A clash by national legend Sir Tom Jones. (Wales Online)
Friday, 25 September
England 2003 World Cup winner Ben Cohen says he is worried what dropping George Ford for England's clash against Wales will do to the outside-half's confidence. (ESPN)
Centre Sam Burgess, who starts against Wales on Saturday, has ratcheted up the tension between the sides by appearing to mischievously ask who his opposite number Scott Williams was. (Guardian)
Australia forward Will Skelton, who has been wearing NFL boots because he couldn't find any rugby ones to fit him, has had footwear made specially to fit his size 19 feet. A Japanese firm worked overtime to ensure Skelton had boots for the Rugby World Cup. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Rugby Clubs has tweeted a map with the locations of all the world's rugby clubs. According to them, New Zealand have 946 clubs, Britain and Ireland 2041 while Iceland has three.
The New Zealand Herald has described the second half of the All Blacks against Namibia as a "dire mess" as the ball was in play for only 12-and-a-half minutes. (New Zealand Herald)
England's World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward believes Leigh Halfpenny's tournament-ending injury could work in Wales' favour at Twickenham, claiming stand-in Liam Williams "is a match-winner with a touch of the Serge Blanco about him". (Daily Mail)
Sam Burgess said in a video posted on Instagram: "I've got no scars, no victories or losses against Wales so for me it's a clean slate, a fresh page and I'm just looking forward to putting something down on that page."
Former Wales international Owen Williams, who suffered a career-ending spinal injury last summer, has galvanised Wales with his courage. (Daily Telegraph)
Train times from London Paddington to Wales means fans may have to leave midway through the second half of their team's match against England if they want to catch the last train to Cardiff. (Independent)
What do rugby players do when they're not playing? Tuck into a box of popcorn and watch a movie. All Blacks outside-half Dan Cater went with team-mate Waisake Naholo to the cinema and posted on Instagram: "Straight out of Compton with my Fijian gangster."
Thursday, 24 September
England fly-half George Ford has been "devastated" by his omission from the starting line-up to face Wales on Saturday. The 22-year-old reportedly argued his case when told that he was dropped in favour of Owen Farrell and his father, Bath coach Mike Ford, has called his demotion "mystifying". (Daily Telegraph)
Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson has predicted that Owen Farrell's deeper starting position at fly-half will lead to centre Sam Burgess being "smashed" by Wales. (Daily Mirror)
Former Wales captain Gareth Thomas has said he has "a hatred of the English jersey" during his playing days and that victory "gave to a nation". (The Times)
Wales fans face being stranded with the last train back to Wales from London on Saturday night leaving from Paddington Station at 22:00 BST, shortly after the final whistle in Saturday's Pool A match. (Daily Telegraph)
NFL agent Jack Bechta is scouting the World Cup for American football recruits and says he hopes to lure three to five players to gridiron. He has so far attended England's win over Fiji, Samoa's win over the United States and Australia's win over Fiji. (ESPN)
Namibia flanker Jacques Burger carries the screws and plates that have been taken out of his body in his kitbag as a reminder of the series of serious injuries he has overcome to make the World Cup. (Daily Mail)
England winger Anthony Watson reveals that he has been tucking into his mother's Nigerian cuisine as he escapes the World Cup pressure with trips back to his family home, just 20 minutes away from England's team base. (Press Association)
David Roberts, the brother of Wales centre Jamie Roberts, has been scooting up and down the sidelines as one of the tournament's television cameramen. (Jamie Roberts on Twitter)
This is the first World Cup that has not begun with the sound of the whistle used in the All Blacks' "Originals" tour of Britain and France in 1905. The whistle has been used at the opening game of every other World Cup but World Rugby declined the offer of it being loaned from the New Zealand Rugby Museum for this tournament. (Stuff)
Wednesday, 23 September
England coach Stuart Lancaster faces accusations of abandoning his principles after dropping fly-half George Ford for Saturday's match against Wales.(Daily Mail)
Lancaster's decision to put rugby league convert Sam Burgess in England's starting line-up against Wales is a huge risk, according to former Scotland wing Kenny Logan. (Talksport)
But former England hooker Brian Moore is less surprised by Burgess's call-up, tweeting: "If correct, Burgess selection isn't surprising. With four centres chosen, once Joseph ruled out, it was inevitable. Farrell over Ford is a bigger call."
Wales captain Sam Warburton says it is unfair to suggest that his England counterpart Chris Robshaw has limited ability. (Daily Telegraph)
World Cup referees have been told to speed up the television referral process during matches after a series of hold-ups in the opening games at the tournament.(Daily Express)
Australia coach Michael Cheika has promised to play an attacking game when his side open their World Cup against Fiji in Cardiff on Wednesday.(Daily Mail)
"Be gentle with me," tweeted nervous former England scrum-half Matt Dawson as he was about to appear on BBC Radio 1's breakfast show on Wednesday morning. "It's a long time since I've listened to Little Mix."
Injured Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb has picked out Samson Lee as his worst room-mate on tour - because of the Scarlets prop's snoring. (Sky Sports)
Tuesday, 22 September
Unsuspecting commuters at London's Victoria Station were treated to a surprise rendition of the Welsh national anthem by a flashmob led by former Wales number eight Scott Quinnell. (Wales Online)
Prince William showed his support for Wales by handing out the teams caps at London's Guildhall. "I'd still back us if this was the front row!" tweeted prop Tomas Francis as he posed with William and team-mate Samson Lee.
And the Prince, vice-patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, will be cheering for Wales when they take on England on Saturday and will be hoping a Wales win will keep his brother Harry - who holds a similar role with the Rugby Football Union - quiet. (Daily Telegraph)
Is rugby about to face its own "deflategate"? Romania have questioned training balls ahead of their World Cup opener against France on Wednesday. (ESPN)
Fiji's Ben Volavola has said his team are drawing "hope and inspiration" from Japan's historic victory against South Africa, revealing it has given smaller nations the belief they can beat anyone in the tournament. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Josh Strauss, on the bench for Scotland's meeting with Japan on Wednesday, has been given some new tartan scrum caps. The number eight, 28, only qualified to play for Scotland a day after the tournament started.
Former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff is one of many celebrities to get World Cup fever, tweeting All Black outside-half Dan Carter after New Zealand beat Argentina on Sunday: "Hey shout out to @DanCarter good luck was honoured to meet and get Sir John Kirwan's jersey a few years back... See you on the pitch!!"
Australia full-back Israel Folau says he wants to dominate this World Cup and carve out his own place in history alongside players such as Jonah Lomu. (New Zealand Herald)
Wales have revealed the secrets of their rendition of Welsh folk song 'Lawr Ar Lan Y Mor' at London's Guildhall, saying they had been practising for a number of weeks under the tutelage of singer Wynne Evans, a man better known for featuring in the Go Compare adverts. (Wales Online)
England have been warned to brace themselves for a "smash and grab" raid on Twickenham this Saturday, masterminded by Wales's artful coach Warren Gatland. (Guardian)
Ireland's Iain Henderson and Johnny Sexton, Wales centre Cory Allen and England duo Mike Brown and Tom Youngs make French website Rugbyrama's team of the tournament after the first round of matches. (Rugbyrama)
Were South Africa's preparations ahead of their surprise defeat by Japan scuppered by some of Brighton's local wildlife? Apparently an invasion of seagulls at their Eastbourne College base made their training pitches less than inviting. (Stuff.co.nz)
Former Springboks coach Jake White says that South Africa have become "ordinary" and that the team looked like they had no gameplan against Japan.(L'Equipe)
Rugby World Cup officials are seeking ways to alleviate the delays caused by television match official (TMO) decisions. A number of fans were irked by the delays in awarding tries over the weekend as referees opted to review their decisions with the TMO.(ESPN)
Monday, 21 September
Japan head coach Eddie Jones says he was urging his side to kick for the draw just before they scored the try that secured a 34-32 win over South Africa on Saturday. (Daily Mail)
World Rugby chief Brett Gosper tweeted that a rush of Japan fans on the tournament's Oxford Street store forced its temporary closure.
Japan's win also caught the eye of San Francisco running back and former rugby league star Jarryd Hayne, who tweeted his congratulations.
Former England lock Steve Borthwick, now Japan's forwards coach, has told Scotland he "wouldn't rule out" another Japan win when the two sides meet on Wednesday. (Daily Star)
South African Super Rugby side Stormers - perhaps sensing this was a good moment to release the news - have announced that Japan coach Jones has been hired to serve as their new coach once the World Cup is over. (Stormers)
South Africa fan Ron Rutland cycled all the way from his homeland to Brighton - a journey of more than 26,000 miles and two years - only to see his side lose the opening match of the tournament. (Daily Telegraph)
Sonny Bill Williams, 30, says he has forgiven Nehe Milner-Skudder, 24, for dropping a pass near the tryline during New Zealand's win over Argentina - because he has been mocking the winger's haircut all week.(TVNZ)
England centre Sam Burgess, 26, has said he thought he "added something" to the team when coming off the bench in the win over Fiji on Friday and is adamant he is ready for a starting role. (ESPN)
American broadcaster Universal Sports has apologised after its website crashed while trying to stream live coverage of the USA's game against Samoa to fans who had paid $27.95 to watch that game. (Guardian)
Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb, 26, has tweeted a picture of himself on a mobility scooter after a foot injury ruled him out of the tournament.
England hooker Tom Youngs, 28, says there is no need to panic despite an uncertain start to the tournament as they beat Fiji 35-11 on Friday. (Daily Mail)
Fly-half Owen Farrell, 23, says that his England team-mates will overpower Wales' injury-depleted squad at Twickenham next weekend. (Daily Telegraph)
Samoa's players serenaded Joost van der Westhuizen, who is critically ill with motor neurone disease, with a traditional hymn when they met the former South Africa scrum-half in Brighton. (Samoa Facebook page)
Irish website SportsJoe has wished their team luck in unique style - by superimposing their heads onto the gyrating bodies of Boyzone from an early television appearance by the boyband.
Sunday, 20 September
South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer, captain Jean de Villiers and lock Victor Matfield could all face the axe after their World Cup defeat to Japan. (Sunday Times South Africa)
Centre Sam Burgess could start for England against Wales after impressing in a 20-minute cameo against Fiji. (Daily Star Sunday)
And the Rugby League convert has been backed to make "the difference" for Stuart Lancaster's side, by Bath director of rugby Mike Ford. (Mail on Sunday)
England number eight Billy Vunipola has told Wales head coach Warren Gatland not to bother with mind games before their match on Saturday. (Sunday Express)
New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter says he "trusts his body" and wants to go out on a high by winning the World Cup. (Sunday Telegraph)
Wales captain Sam Warburton says he might retire if Wales win the World Cup. (Daily Star Sunday)
Singer Camilla Kerslake, the girlfriend of England captain Chris Robshaw, has dismissed reports of a rift between the team's wives and girlfriends. (Sunday Mirror)
England's World Cup winner Martin Johnson has warned the side against complacency in their big showdown against Wales. (Sunday Mirror)
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, the most capped player in history, says he is still learning and has backed England captain Robshaw. (Observer)
Saturday, 19 September
Former Australian captain John Eales was trapped in a lift for more than 40 minutes at Twickenham while trying to get to the World Cup opening ceremony. Eales helped calm the 15 fans he was trapped with, by telling them his predictions for the World Cup, including an England v New Zealand final. (Telegraph)
Sir Clive Woodward has criticised the overuse of television match officials after referee Jaco Peyper used it six times during England's win over Fiji. (Daily Mail)
Sale Sharks fly-half Danny Cipriani, who was left out of England's World Cup squad, has tweeted his congratulations to England after their bonus-point victory.
New Zealand will field the most capped side in Rugby World Cup history against Argentina on Sunday, with 1,013 caps. (Daily Express)
The Tonga government has designated Saturday as Red Day for the team's match against Georgia, encouraging the country's population of 100,000 to wear the team colour to business and church. (Guardian)
Fiji winger Nemani Nadolo has hit back at a comment made by an ITV commentator during the World Cup opener that there is "only one TV in Fiji." (Nemani Nadolo on Twitter)
Australia's David Pocock has said as a child he idolised former South Africa backrower Bobby Skinstad and aged 11, he burst into tears when Stephen Larkham slotted an extra-time drop goal to lift the Wallabies to victory against South Africa in the 1999 World Cup semi-final. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Friday, 18 September
England's players will share almost £6m if they win the World Cup, the largest incentive ever for any team. (Daily Telegraph)
Fiji winger Nemani Nadolo, 27, says he was fortunate to play football growing up, and enjoys proving people who question his size wrong. (Guardian)
World Cup winner Jason Robinson says England must come out firing if they are to stop Fiji demonstrating their skill. (Evening Standard)
England will wear red and use the visitors' dressing room when they play Fiji on Friday night.(Guardian)
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has made no secret of the fact England are being lined up as the key game of the so-called pool of death.(Independent)
The number of private school graduates in England's World Cup squad numbers 20, while Wales have five.(Daily Mail)
Chris Robshaw will lead his country out at Twickenham on Friday, but his old school teachers would never have bet on him becoming England captain. (Daily Telegraph)
Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw says the familiar territory of Kingsholm, where he plays club rugby for Gloucester, will help his country off to a World Cup flier against Japan on Wednesday. (Daily Record)
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Thursday, 17 September
Australia wing Joe Tomane - complete with voluminous hair - has been immortalised in wool by an ingenious Japanese fan.
New Zealand's players will change out of their training kit on the team bus to ensure that their sponsor gets maximum exposure and to avoid falling foul of tournament rules that ban commercial logos at team bases or at matches. (NZ Herald)
Uruguay centre Alberto Roman has his tongue firmly in his cheek when he compared his team to one of his country's most famous sporting export. "I know everyone in England loves Luis Suarez," he said. "I can promise everyone that there will not be any Suarez incidents with us." (Daily Express)
Wales second row Dominic Day has revealed that head coach Warren Gatland was the ropiest dancer when a DJ and disco lights were brought into the gym. (Sky Sports)
Sir Pita Sharples, a former co-leader of the Maori Party, has described the "hakarena" led by England World Cup winner Matt Dawson as "pretty shameful". Dawson is part of video in which the traditional pre-match challenge is mixed with the dance that accompanied the nineties hit Macarena. (Times)
England second row Courtney Lawes had a less-than-diplomatic answer when asked who his favourite England player of all time is. "Manu Tuilagi. What a player, a real force, there is no other player I would want in my team," he replied. Tuilagi has said he feels "harshly treated" after he was excluded from the England squad following an assault on two police officers. (Daily Telegraph)
Twitter have released a new set of emojis to mark the start of the World Cup, containing the teams' three-letter abbreviations, national colours and motivational slogans.
Fans attending some World Cup matches will be paying more for beer, programmes and food than at other events staged at the same venues. (Daily Telegraph)
England rugby-league convert Sam Burgess has denied he is planning a post World-Cup return to the 13-man code and suggested the rumour was aimed to "unsettle" him. (Sydney Morning Herald)
The South Africa team that will take on Japan in their World Cup opener on Saturday is the most-capped in their history. Heyenke Meyer's starting XV have 880 caps between them - an average of more than 58 for each player. (Times)
The RFU will maintain its policy of not selecting overseas-based players for the England team for another eight years, taking in the World Cups in 2019 and 2023. (Daily Telegraph)
Number eight Jamie Heaslip reveals that Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor has sent the squad personalised good luck messages.
Wednesday, 16 September
The All Blacks are part of a star-studded charity single released in the build-up to the tournament. Lord of the Rings director Sir Peter Jackson, Flight of the Conchords duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, global pop sensation Lorde and pop star Daniel Bedingfield feature in the video for Team Ball Player Thing. As does New Zealand utility back Ryan Crotty - riding a unicorn. (Youtube)
Can you pin a video to the dressing-room wall for motivation? Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson has risked the wrath of the All Blacks by re-working their pre-match challenge, incorporating a mid-90s latin mega-hit, and coming up with the "hakarena". (Youtube)
A petition has been launched in New Zealand calling on employers to shift the working day back to allow rugby fans to watch All Blacks matches, which kick off early in the morning local time. Pushback4black.co.nz
A French journalist has been less than impressed by the London suburb of Croydon, where he has been sent to cover his national team. Sebastien Coca describes Croydon as "dull and monotonous", before describing how it was the scene of unrest during the 2011 England riots. (Metronews.fr)
Even newborn babies will need tickets to attend World Cup matches, with some parents struggling to find seats for children who will sit on their knee in any case. (Times)
Teams have been welcomed to their tournament bases, with Tonga gracing Cheltenham Town Hall and Australia wing Joe Tomane struggling to contain his hair beneath his commemorative cap.
New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams believes fellow cross-code convert Sam Burgess is more suited to playing at flanker than the midfield role he has been handed by England coach Stuart Lancaster. (Daily Telegraph)
New Zealand centre Ma'a Nonu's biggest problem acclimatising to England has been getting used to the hundreds of channels on his hotel television. (Stuff)
The father of Scotland flanker John Hardie will entrust lambing season on the family farm to someone else for the first time in more than 30 years so he can watch his son in World Cup action. (Scotsman)
England Rugby tweeted a picture of the teamsheet from the 58-23 win over Fiji in 1989 - the first time the Pacific Islanders played the full England side at Twickenham. However, they tagged 2003 World Cup-winning flanker Richard Hill in the image, to his consternation, rather than the former scrum-half of the same name.