Rugby World Cup 2011: News round-up
2011 RUGBY WORLD CUP FINAL
- Eden Park, Auckland
- Sunday 23 Oct
- 0900 BST / 2100 NZ;
- Live text commentary, scores and report on BBC website; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1, live commentary on TalkSport radio
A round-up of the latest news, views and gossip from the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu has admitted that the departure of coach Graham Henry is proving an added incentive for them this weekend, because they want to send him off in style. "He has been a very special man on and off the field," said Mealamu, who is set to win his 92nd cap. "I've learnt a lot off him as a player, and he is quite a genuine man off the field as well. He really cares about the boys."
Australian fly-half Quade Cooper could face a long spell out after being carried off after 22 minutes of his team's third-place victory over Wales. Australia coach Robbie Deans said he suspected Cooper had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, an injury which can require up to nine months' rehabilitation.
Wales star Jamie Roberts has described the last two weeks at the World Cup as "pretty brutal". Speaking after the third place play-off match he said: "To go from the elation of the Ireland victory to the last two weeks has been very tough. We just need it to make us stronger - we need to take it on the chin and move forward."
All Blacks legend John Kirwan hopes Japan will be able to put its own stamp on the Rugby World Cup when it hosts the tournament in 2019. Kirwan, who is set to leave his role as Japan coach after five years in charge, said "What goes on on the field needs to work in harmony with the off-field activities. There has been a real village-like atmosphere and the JRFU [Japan Rugby Football Union] needs to start thinking what it can do to make its tournament unique, not just from a logistical point of view but from a feeling point of view."
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw says that his side are excited rather than nervous ahead of the Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park on Sunday: "It's an opportunity... We've given ourselves a chance," he said. "The boys are motivated, they're excited. But we're up against a team that will be exactly the same and it's about doing the job for 80 minutes. In a final it's not about who 'deserves' what," McCaw added. "It's about who goes and plays the best rugby on that stage, in this game, that's what we've got to do."
French tighthead prop Nicolas Mas says his side must be equal to the challenge posed by New Zealand's All Blacks if they are to win the World Cup. "We need to be able to meet them in the scrum if we are going to be able to play. We have the whole match to do this. Two teams want to win, and they will do everything in their power to win - that is the aggression and the passion. There will be a huge amount of passion involved," said Mas.