Rugby World Cup 2011: News round-up

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

Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson twice used a different ball for conversions

Latest: England are set to discover on Tuesday whether they will face any sanction for Jonny Wilkinson's attempts to change balls during Saturday's World Cup win against Romania.

Wilkinson twice sought out a different ball to that which was touched down by the try-scorer, which is against the rules.

A World Cup spokesman said after the game that England were warned to "desist" at half-time and did so.

England manager Martin Johnson explained Wilkinson thought "one of the balls was slightly less than perfect so he wanted to swap it" and he said it was "not an unusual occurrence".

Australia number eight Wycliff Palu, second-rower Dan Vickerman and full-back Kurtley Beale travel to Christchurch for scans on their injuries.

New Zealand's players insist coach Graham Henry has a softer side than the tough-guy image he sometimes portrays in public. "I guess every time you guys see him he looks grumpy, but that's just how looks," said half-back Piri Weepu. "He's pretty mellow. I guess from 2004, when I first made the team to now, he has mellowed a little bit. He's probably more approachable now."

England lock Courtney Lawes believes the two-week suspension handed to him for dropping a knee to the head of Argentine hooker Mario Ledesma was "harsh". The 22-year-old is back available to face Scotland in the crucial final Pool B match on Saturday. "I thought it was a bit harsh but what can you do? You just have to get on with it and take it on the chin and that's what I have done," said Lawes.

Scotland assistant coach Gregor Townsend says his side must find the killer instinct when they face England in the crunch clash. "We know we have to win the game by more than seven points to give ourselves a really good chance of getting through," he said. "We just have to work harder and make sure were more clinical with passing and the breakdown work, because England will test us as much on breakdown as Argentina did.

Ireland defence coach Les Kiss has reminded his side's World Cup rivals that the team possess many weapons in their arsenal beyond the choke tackle. "Other teams have already started copying it. England took it on and were speaking to me about it after the Six Nations," he said.

Australia flanker David Pocockexternal-link has declared himself fit to return to action in the Wallabies' final Pool C match against Russia on Saturday. The only specialist open-side flanker in their squad, Pocock has missed the last two games - including the 15-6 defeat by Ireland - with a back complaint.

All Blacks trio Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Piri Weepu have been practising drop-goals. Carter's against France on Saturday was only the fourth of his Test career, while the All Blacks have only landed three in the last three World Cups. "We've been practising our goalkicking and our drop-goals a lot," Slade said. "Finals and semi-finals have really gone down to the wire and the track record has proven that drop-goals can win tournaments."

New Zealand's Kieran Read, described as the best number eight in world rugby by Lawrence Dallaglio, is expected to make his first appearance of the World Cup against Canada on Sundayexternal-link. Read damaged ankle ligaments playing against Australia last month, but has trained well in the last week and is considered ready to return by the All Blacks management.

New Zealand assistant coach Steve Hansen says the whole team are behind All Blacks legend Jonah Lomuexternal-link, who was admitted to hospital after a health scare relating to his kidneys. Hansen said: "We don't know too much about it other than that he's in hospital. So the thoughts are with the big fella and hopefully he makes a speedy recovery." Lomu is in a stable condition in a renal ward in Auckland.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson has warned England to expect a furious onslaughtexternal-link when the two nations meet on Saturday. The Scots must win after their 13-12 defeat by Argentina and Robinson said: "There will be a Scotland side very fired up and a Scotland side I believe will be able to go out and win a game. We'll have some things up our sleeve ready to play England."

Samoa's Seilala Mapusua says his side will throw everything at South Africa external-linkin the hope of clinching a place in the quarter-finals. Samoa missed out on a bonus point in their 27-7 victory over Fiji, which may cost them a place in the last eight even if they beat the Springboks. But Mapusua warned: "Nothing is sewn up yet. They did name this the pool of death and it's living up to that."

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw thanked his mum after becoming the first Kiwi to play 100 tests external-linkin the 37-17 victory over France. "It's a special memory I'll have," he added.

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