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

A round-up of the latest news, views and gossip from the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll's Ireland will face the runners-up from Pool D, which contains Wales, if they secure top spot in Pool C

Scotland's sports minister Shona Robison has written to tournament organisers to ask them to allow fans to play bagpipes at matches involving Andy Robinson's side. Musical instruments are on a long list of items banned from stadiums which also includes umbrellas, vuvuzelas and car parts. (The Scotsman)

Australia open-side flanker David Pocock, badly missed by his team during their 15-6 defeat to Ireland in their second Pool C match, could remain on the sidelines for the Wallabies' match against the United States. Assistant coach David Nucifora said the 23-year-old had made a "massive improvement" in his recovery from a back injury, but that it was still too early to tell if he would be available for Friday's encounter.

Samoa centre Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono has apologised for references he made to the Holocaust in a tweeted complaint about the fixture schedules of lower-ranked nations in the tournament. "Delete the analogies. #apologies. Issues of injustice remain. #rugby," he wrote. The International Rugby Board has said that it has accepted an official apology and will not take further action against the player.

England prop Matt Stevens has allayed fears that he may add to the team's long-term front-row casualties after suffering a knock in the 41-10 win over Georgia. "Thanks for the concern. Injury is minor and will be fit ASAP!" he tweeted.

Meanwhile the England management team have denied suggestions that number eight Nick Easter's back injury was the result of a bungee jump in Queenstown. The Harlequins forward trained fully after his jump and only felt tightness developing on Saturday.

Fiji flanker Dominiko Waqaniburotu will miss his side's remaining Pool D matches against Wales and Samoa after admitting to a dangerous tackle during his side'sand being punished with a three-week ban.

A Maori leader has agreed with comments from South Africa coach Peter de Villiers that the haka is overused. "The haka in our culture is something which is regarded as special and should not be bastardised by sport," Peter Love, trustee of an organisation which administers Maori reserves,told the Dominion Post.

After their victory over Australia, Ireland have leapfrogged Scotland and Wales to climb to sixth in the latest edition of the International Rugby Board World rankings.

France coach Marc Lievremont has named scrum-half Morgan Parra at fly-half for his side's pivotal Rugby World Cup pool clash with New Zealand on Saturday. Parra, who played at 10 for the final quarter of their opening win over Japan, takes over from Francois Trinh-Duc.

Winger Maxime Medard has called on his France team-mates to "stop being scared" and to impose themselves on the tournament. "You have to realize that we're at the World Cup, that maybe we will only get to play in it once," he said.

South Africa have recalled winger Bryan Habana in one of five changes to their side to face Namibia on Thursday. Scrum-half Francois Hougaard, wing Gio Aplon, flanker Willem Alberts and tight-head prop CJ Van der Linde also come into the side.

Fund-raising in the global rugby community has so far raised more than NZ$500,000 (US$410,000/£261,000) for the earthquake-ravaged New Zealand city of Christchurch. "When you see the amounts being donated from every corner of New Zealand and from all round the world, you realise just how much people have been touched by this tragedy," said All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who has been the figurehead for much of the fund-raising efforts including an International Rugby Board appeal.

Ulster hooker Rory Best insists Ireland possess the temperament to deliver on the big occasion but has demanded they raise standards throughout the World Cup. "The big pressure for us now is to show it consistently," said Best after their stunning victory over Australia. "It can't be one big game followed by a couple of mediocre ones. From here on it must be big performance after big performance. It's a short tournament and we must raise our game every time."

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