Rugby World Cup 2011: News round-up
2011 RUGBY WORLD CUP IN NEW ZEALAND
- 12 (nine in North Island, three 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.
International Rugby Board chief executive Mike Miller has said New Zealand are replaceable should the All Blacks carry out their threat to boycott the 2015 Rugby World Cup because of financial concerns. Miller said: "Does the World Cup need the All Blacks? It would be good for the All Blacks to be there. Everyone is replaceable."
New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith insists the All Blacks have belief in outside-half Colin Slade following Dan Carter's tournament-ending injury. "He's got all the tools to make a go of it and he's got the belief and encouragement from the squad," said Smith of the inexperienced Slade.
French forward Imanol Harinordoquy says he is unhappy at coach Marc Lievremont for criticising the players in public after the defeat by Tonga. The number eight, who will start against England in the quarter-final on Saturday, said: "I am not happy. There are things that have to stay in the room when you speak between the coach and players."
Italy hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini has been suspended for 15 weeks - until 18 January - after admitting to eye-gouging Ireland prop Cian Healy. Ghiraldini denied his actions during Saturday's Pool C match was deliberate, but judicial officer Bruce Squire disagreed in Tuesday's hearing.
The offence has a minimum sanction of 24 weeks, but Ghiraldini's ban was reduced because of his unblemished disciplinary record.
The All Blacks say they want to vowed to win the World Cup for injured fly-half Dan Carter. Speaking ahead of New Zealand's quarter-final against Argentina on Sunday, Carter's Crusaders team-mate Kieran Read said: "I'm sure we're going to dig even deeper and put in huge effort for him as well to get him across the line and make his dream come true."
Samoa centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu has been provisionally suspended from playing rugby after failing to attend a World Cup misconduct hearing. He was charged by organisers for a Twitter rant, calling Welsh referee Nigel Owens "biased" and "racist".
Props are struggling to come to grips with the skintight jerseys they're being shoehorned into at the Rugby World Cup. The key concern is the initial, split-second bind for front rows in the scrum, as Argentina prop Marcos Ayerza explained: "As a loose-head I find it hard to bind and attack a prop when he's got a very tight shirt. The regulation should allow the prop to have a bit looser jersey."
Tonga have climbed into the top 10 on rugby's world rankings list for the first time after their shock 19-14 win over France at the weekend. France drop to eighth, their lowest-ever ranking, while Ireland, Wales and Argentina move up one place each to fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. Scotland drop from ninth to 10th.
Australia's Rocky Elsom believes it is important his team learns from the quarter-final defeat by England at the last Rugby World Cup. "We don't have to go too far back to have a look at when we don't do things so well how it turns out for us," said Elsom. "It is just about the whole group being aware of what helps us go well, and in particular that this team performs well."
Lekso Gugava of Georgia has been suspended for five weeks after being found guilty of making a 'dangerous tip tackle' in the Pool B match against Argentina in Palmerston North on 3 October.
France's Fabrice Estebanez has been suspended for three weeks for making a 'dangerous tip tackle' in the 19-14 defeat by Tonga - his ban is a couple of week's less than Gugava because he admitted the offence.