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
Martin Johnson
England manager Johnson says players need to let off steam

England manager Martin Johnson has defended his players following reports about a night out in Queenstown. "You have got to relieve the pressure and let off steam at the right time. It was a good idea," Johnson said. "I would rather we are out and about in the general public. I don't want to get to a stage where we are locking ourselves away in hotels on this trip."

United States captain Todd Clever has been cited for dangerous tackling and charging in his side's 13-6 victory over Russia in Pool C in New Plymouth. The flanker is set to appear before independent judicial officer Jeff Blackett in Auckland.

Australia open-side David Pocock, 23, is a doubt for Saturday's Pool C clash with Ireland due to a tight back. Pocock was absent from final training at Eden Park as a precaution and will be reassessed on the day of the game.

Argentina will be without Julio Farias Cabello for their Pool B match against Romania on Saturday after the flanker picked up a hamstring injury. Alejandro Campos will be promoted from the replacements with Genaro Fessia joining the bench. The Pumas are already without captain Felipe Contepomi (injured ribs) and centre Gonzalo Tiesi (knee injury).

Samoa are waiting on fly-half Tusi Pisi to prove his fitness ahead of Sunday's Pool D match against Wales. Pisi hurt his left hamstring in his side's 49-12 win over Namibia. "He's 80% fit according to our medical team, and they say he'll be 99% tomorrow, so then we still have one more day for him to be fully fit," coach Titimaea Tafua said.

Meanwhile, Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger has said Wales have an advantage ahead of Sunday's game because they will have had three extra days' rest. The Pacific islanders are looking to beat Warren Gatland's men for a third time in the World Cup, after famous victories in 1991 and 1999.

Wales captain Sam Warburton is confident his team carries no emotional scars from those two previous loses to Samoa. "I don't think the players have taken any notice of what's happened in the past," said Warburton. "This squad's a lot different to what it was back then."

Quade Cooper's grandmother, Millie, has leapt to the Australian fly-half's defence after he was labelled a "boofhead" by Wallabies great Nick Farr-Jones and grilled in the New Zealand media after his baiting of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw. Cooper, who grew up in New Zealand and has Maori heritage, dubbed himself "public enemy number one" on his Twitter account.

Captain Sergio Parisse is one of only three players to retain his place in Italy's starting line-up after coach Nick Mallett rung the changes for his side's next Pool C game against Russia on Tuesday. Russia are expected to name their team on Sunday.

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