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

The Rugby World Cup is expected to have a "profound" economic impact on hosts New Zealand, as big-spending international visitors flock to the country for the largest event it has ever staged. The study, carried out by Britain's Coventry University Business School, estimated 95,000 overseas visitors would spend 782.5m NZ dollars (£406m), during the six-week tournament. It said the long-term World Cup legacy for the host nation through tourism and business development would be even more valuable, totalling an estimated $1.21bn (£0.6bn).

Two South African fans looking for their hotel in the Wellington suburb of Eastbourne discovered they had actually booked accommodation in the British seaside town of the same name almost 12,000 miles away. Local shop owner Linda Burke broke the news to Michael and Sunette Adendorff after the pair asked her for directions. Burke said Michael Adendorff, who made the online booking, told her he thought it was strange when the hotel charged him in pounds sterling not New Zealand dollars. Burke generously put them up in her own home for two nights and took them to a pub to watch the World Cup opening ceremony on Friday, before the the South African duo watched the Springboks' 17-16 victory against Wales.

Ireland are confident that Geordan Murphy will be fit for Saturday's match against Australia, despite the full-back suffering a hamstring injury in training. Prop Tony Buckley is also expected to play after scans on his shoulder revealed only bruising.

France coach Marc Lievremont has made 11 changes to his starting XV to face Canada in Napier on Sunday after a disappointing 47-21 World Cup opening win over Japan. Scrum-half Morgan Parra replaces Dmitri Yachvilli, while hooker William Servat is the only survivor from the forward pack.

England hooker Steve Thompson has painful memeories of the team's last World Cup meeting with Georgia, who they face again in Dunedin on Sunday. England beat them 84-6 in Perth in the 2003 competition but Thompson recalled: "I got a back spasm one of them hit me so hard. I couldn't breathe properly and had to go off."

Argentina coach Santiago Phelan has named his strongest possible team for Saturday's World Cup Pool B game with Romania in Invercargill, with just two injury-enforced changes from the side that was edged out 13-9 by England in their opening match. Marcelo Bosch comes in for centre Gonzalo Tiesi, who is out of the tournament with knee ligament damage following a controversial tackle from England's Courtney Lawes. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino will start at full-back. That allows Martin Rodriguez to move to centre and Santiago Fernandez to switch from midfield to fly-half in place of injured captain Felipe Contepomi. Mario Ledesma, involved in the incident that led to the citing of Lawes, will make his 15th World Cup appearance - a national record.

New Zealand will hold off naming their team to face Japan until Wednesday, as they wait on the fitness of fly-half Dan Carter. The first-choice stand-off has not been able to train with the side since their bruising opening 41-10 victory against Tonga on Friday. "Dan is coming right," said assistant coach Steve Hansen. "He got a hit in the back, so he's a bit sore. We'll have to wait and see how he goes, which is why we name the team on Wednesday." The All Blacks face Japan in Hamilton on Friday.

Australia-born Adam Byrnes could play for Russia against the Wallabies after answering a call from team officials for players with Russian heritage to contact them. Byrnes, a lock with Super 15 side the Melbourne Rebels, was included in Russia's 30-man squad for their first World Cup and named as a reserve for their opening match. Byrnes' mother left the Soviet Union for Australia as a child after World War II.

The US have made three changes from the side beaten 22-10 by Ireland on Saturday. Hooker Phil Thiel, prop Shawn Pittman and full-back Blaine Scully move to the bench to make way for Chris Biller, Matekitonga Moeakiola and Chris Wyles. Mike MacDonald will play his 10th World Cup match for the side, equalling Alec Parker's record.

Japan's New Zealand-born coach John Kirwan, whose contract expires at the end of December, has declared his interest in becoming the All Blacks' coach, describing the role currently held by Graham Henry as "the best job in the world."

The failure of public transport to cope with demand for the opening of the rugby World Cup in Auckland last Friday was regrettable but not the government's fault, according to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. Officials estimated that up to 50,000 people tried to use public transport to get to Eden Park, when they expected no more than half that number. "We are all working together on this one," said Key. We have to put it right and are taking a very active interest," Transport Minister Steven Joyce added.

The Australian Rugby Union is refusing to comment on a report that a New Zealand Government minister booed and abused the Wallabies in their match against Italy at North Harbour Stadium on Sunday, report tvnz.co.nz. Ministers Wayne Mapp, Maurice Williamson and Jonathan Coleman all attended the match but say about a officials from the ARU being "gobsmacked" by a Kiwi minister's unsporting behaviour is not true.

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