Rugby World Cup 2011: News round-up
2011 RUGBY WORLD CUP IN NEW ZEALAND
- 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
A round-up of the latest news, views and gossip from the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu has been admitted to hospital after a health scare relating to his kidneys. His wife Nadene said: "All I can say is that my husband is stable and until we know exactly what's wrong, we are not prepared to comment." The Auckland District Health Board confirmed Lomu, who had a kidney trsnaplant in 2004, was in the renal and liver transplant ward of Auckland Hospital but would not comment further on his condition. Lomu was diagnosed with the kidney disorder nephrotic syndrome in 1995. Full story: New Zealand Herald
Australia's David Pocock and James O'Connor both trained on Sunday and will be considered for selection in Australia's final World Cup pool game with Russia next weekend, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has confirmed. Pocock, the only specialist open-side flanker in the Wallabies' 30-man squad, has missed the last two games with a back complaint, while utility back O'Connor had a tight hamstring at training last week.
New Zealand's Rugby World Cup minister Murray McCully believes his country could host the tournament again after proving they are capable of staging major sporting events. McCully had previously argued that the 2011 World Cup could be New Zealand's last opportunity to stage an event of this magnitude because of the high costs involved. But he told the Sunday Star Times: "I think New Zealanders have demonstrated we are up for this competition - that we can handle large numbers - so I hope one of the things we do after this tournament is give ourselves the confidence to have another shot."
Japan will be aiming to break a 20-year World Cup winless streak when they take on Canada in Napier on Tuesday. Their first - and only - win came in 1991, when they beat Zimbabwe. The Brave Blossoms are the only side to have conceded more than 1,000 points in Rugby World Cup matches. Japan head coach John Kirwan has made two changes to his starting line-up for Tuesday's match. Tonga-born flanker Sione Vatuvei comes into the side, replacing Itaru Taniguchi, while prop Nozomu Fujita takes over from Kensuke Hatakeyama, who moves to the reserves. Canada make one change with Matt Evans returning from injury to replace Ciaran Hearn on the wing. Canada centre Ryan Smith is set to play his 50th test after being named in the starting side.
New Zealand's Israel Dagg has played down suggestions he has overtaken Mils Muliaina as the All Blacks' leading full-back despite a try-scoring, man-of-the-match outing against France which delighted coach Graham Henry. Dagg also backed "legend" Muliaina to add two more caps to his Test appearance tally of 98. "Of course I want to see him get his 100. He's a big part of the All Blacks and he's a bit of legend in the game," said Dagg. "I wouldn't say I'm number one."
Italy, who still have a chance of qualifying for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals from Pool C, have made nine changes to the squad for the match against the United States on Tuesday. Leonardo Ghiraldini, Martin Castrogiovanni, Cornelius van Zyl, Alessandro Zanni, Fabio Semenzato, Luciano Orquera, Mirco Bergamasco, Gonzalo Garcia and Gonzalo Canale come in. The US make 14 changes, selecting the same 22-man squad that beat Russia in their opening match, before they lost to Australia with a second-string side. Hayden Smith is the only man who keeps his place from the defeat by the Wallabies.
Fiji captain Deacon Manu has urged Pacific teams not to let the region's trademark flamboyant rugby die after his team were eliminated from the World Cup following a 27-7 defeat by an attritional Samoa.The all-Pacific Pool D clash was expected to be a showcase of spontaneous, free-running rugby but turned into a dour battle dominated by Samoa's forwards and the boot of their fly-half, Tusi Pisi. "I don't think the flair will go away from Pacific island rugby, that's a strength of Pacific island rugby. And if Pacific islands want to challenge in tournaments like this we've got to make sure we keep that alive," said Manu.
Former British and Irish Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan maintains there should be no issue with England players going out to unwind during World Cup duty. Having joined a group of team-mates on a night out in Queenstown a fortnight ago, England vice-captain Mike Tindall has insisted the team's party days are over as they gear up for the business end of the tournament. But McGeechan said: "They have to go out, they have a drink and it was with the blessing of Martin Johnson and the management. They need that ability to switch off when you are in an intense pressured environment - not just at a World Cup, but in New Zealand."