Rugby World Cup 2011: News round-up


11 (nine in North Island, two in South)
Fri 9 Sept - Sun 23 Oct
From 0100 BST - 0930 BST
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

Organisers say one-third of New Zealand's 4.5m people watched television broadcasts of Friday's Rugby World Cup opener between the All Blacks and Tonga.

Press reaction to England's 13-9 win over Argentina has been scathing. "You're hardly the All Blacks, England," read the headline in the Mail on Sunday. The Observer said England had suffered a "collective freeze".

Players from the United States rugby team joined hundreds of others on Sunday morning at a memorial service for the victims of 9/11 in New Plymouth, before their match against Ireland.

Meanwhile, the Japan and New Zealand teams will observe a minute's silence ahead of their World Cup game in Hamilton on Friday to honour victims of the earthquakes that hit their countries this year, World Cup organisers have announced.

Japan's number eight Ryukoliniashi Holani has been ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury. He will be replaced in the 30-man squad by Toetsu Taufa.

Former New Zealand player Sean Fitzpatrick on the opening World Cup match between the All Blacks and Tonga: "The stadium looked great, the opening ceremony was very good and I loved [New Zealand Prime Minister] John Key's passion with his "Go the All Blacks" sign-off in his speech. Hard to imagine Britain's PM, David Cameron, doing anything like that." (New Zealand Herald)

Auckland Mayor Len Brown, who was elected on a platform of improving public transport, was forced to apologise after buses, trains and ferries expected to take fans to the opening match ground to a halt because of unexpectedly high demand. He has demanded a report by Monday.

France coach Marc Lievremont slammed his players for an unconvincing showing against Japan despite their eventual 47-21 win against the Asian champions. "I was frustrated with the way our play was polluted with approximations, technical errors, indiscipline," he told a press briefing.

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll admits his side need to improve quickly if they are to stand any real chance of causing an upset at the Rugby World Cup. Ireland laboured to a error-strewn 22-10 victory over the USA on Sunday and O'Driscoll said: "We didn't play well, we really had to fight for our win. I suppose it's job done but there's a lot to improve on."

New Zealand great Alan Whetton has urged the All Blacks to take a "pop" at cheeky Aussie fly-half Quade Cooper, who has a history of run-ins with the hosts' captain Richie McCaw.

Meanwhile, Cooper, who was booed by some of the spectators during the match against Italy, said: "You can't tell if they are cheering or booing. The roar from the crowd crowd spurs you on."

All Blacks wing Cory Jane said he had been "dribbling" since a strict team ban on Tweeting during the World Cup, but he said he was slowly coming to terms with the order. "I've stopped dribbling, so I'm getting better. I managed to get on the [team's] official Twitter site," Jane said.

Georgia coach Richie Dixon thinks Scotland's struggles against Romania in the World Cup Pool B opener was an indication of a possible power shift in European rugby.

Argentina centre Gonzalo Tiesi will miss the rest of the tournament with a knee injury he suffered following a tackle by England's Courtney Lawes during Saturday's 13-9 defeat, while captain and fly-half Felipe Contepomi is struggling with bruised ribs.

France coach Marc Lievremont was not impressed with his side's performance during their 47-21 win over Japan. He admitted to shouting at his players at half-time and after the game. "They're the ones who are playing, the ones out on the pitch," he said.

"It's all well and good to say we discuss things with them, but at some stage they're on the pitch, it's up to them to sort out the problems.

"Our match was littered with loose play, technical mistakes, errors of discipline," Lievremont said. "Wastefulness in our finishing, wastefulness in our organisation."

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