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
Jeremy Guscott's Rugby World Cup Ones to Watch

England coach Martin Johnson says his side are "just ready to go" after completing their final training session ahead of Saturday's opening match with Argentina. "It's been quite a build-up in the last 10 days", he said. "We trained very well last night. We asked for a pretty crisp and intense session and we got it. It's all about guys individually mentally getting themselves in the right place for tomorrow night." (Press Association)

Mike Tindall, who will captain England against Argentina in the absence of Lewis Moody, says he feels like a little boy on Christmas Eve ahead of the match. "It's really hard to explain but I love the day before, especially in the evening," he said. "The longer I wait, the apprehension and the excitement just builds in me. I'm running around like a schoolboy toward the end of the day. Even the night before, I never want to go to bed because I just like thinking about things. I'm waiting for Santa to come." (Reuters)

David Ellison, a Maori elder and descendant of the man responsible for the All Black jersey, has urged Argentina to exact revenge on England in Saturday's pool match. England will be wearing their controversial black change kit against the Pumas, which Ellison believes is disrespectful to tournament hosts New Zealand. "I don't think the English team realise how important the black jersey is to us." (Otago Daily Times)

Toby Flood says fellow fly-half Jonny Wilkinson will be more than ready for England's opener. "Knowing Jonny from our time together at Newcastle, he is one player who doesn't need any help. He will be chilled out and quiet, sitting in a corner reading his playbook and, come game time, he will be totally switched on." (The Daily Telegraph)

Brian Ashton, who coached England to the final in 2007, says the 2011 squad are much better prepared this time around. "So they should be, for the circumstances - not least in terms of time spent together, of continuity of training and team-building - are entirely different." (The Independent)

A rugby-mad sheep touted as the world's latest animal pyschic has picked the All Blacks to win their opening match against Tonga on Friday. "Sonny Wool", named after All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams, chose to munch on hay under a New Zealand flag rather than another container with the flag of Tonga. (AFP)

One in 10 people say they will do less work in the coming weeks as they expect to miss sleep so they can watch the World Cup, a study has shown. (Press Association)

The Russian team have been deeply affected by the plane crash near Moscow that killed 36 members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team. "We all belong to the world of sports, so when something bad happens in some of its parts, we feel it sharply," said Russia captain Vladislav Korshunov. "We will do our best in the Rugby World Cup. Now we know that we will also fight for those guys who we will never see again." (Associated Press)

Police have seized tens of thousands of dollars worth of fraudulent World Cup tickets amid fears that more may be in circulation. One man, from what is thought to be an international ticket-fraud ring, has been deported to Africa after being caught with tickets and fake credit cards. (Dominion-Post)

South Africa's lineout legend Victor Matfield has vowed to ask the match referee to clamp down on any illegal Welsh tactics in Sunday's opening Pool D clash in Wellington. (WalesOnline)

France's Racing-Metro lock Lionel Nallet insists a repeat shock, similar to their first-ever loss to Italy in the Six Nations this year, when they face Japan is not possible. "We've learned our lessons from our loss in Rome," he said. "We were arrogant and it won't happen again. Personally, I have still not digested that match." (Press Association)

Pool D rivals South Africa and Wales must contend with the Wellington wind when they meet. On average, Wellington experiences wind gusts of more than 37mph on 173 days every year and has a mean annual wind speed of 14 mph. (Associated Press)

*For breaking Rugby World Cup news and gossip throughout the day, follow Sportsday Live.

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