World Cup gossip: Robshaw, Farrell, Lancaster, Gatland, Zebo

Chris Robshaw (left) and Joe Marler
England captain Chris Robshaw (left) took the blame for a controversial late decision to kick for the corner
Rugby World Cup
Hosts: England Dates: 18 September-31 October
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and sports extra, BBC local radio, plus live text commentary on every match on the BBC Sport website.
Further coverage: BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio.

Sunday, 27 September

England captain Chris Robshaw says he must take full responsibility for the late decision to turn down a penalty kick that would have earned a draw against Wales. (Mail on Sunday)external-link

And fly-half Owen Farrell says he would have backed himself to make the kick from near the right-hand touchline. (Mail on Sunday)external-link

However, head coach Stuart Lancaster refused to blame Robshaw's decision for the defeat. (Sunday Mirror)external-link

Ioan Gruffudd
Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd celebrates victory - topless

Wales coach Warren Gatland believes his side triumphed because they wanted it more than England. (Observer)external-link

Wales centre Scott Williams, 24, could be out of the tournament, with Gatland saying his knee injury "doesn't look good". (ITV Sport)external-link

Ryan Jones
Former Wales captain Ryan Jones toasts victory

They may have beaten England, but Australia legend Michael Lynagh says he "wouldn't bet his mortgage" on Wales overcoming Fiji on Thursday.(Sunday Times - subscription required)external-link

Ireland wing Simon Zebo says he has become a better player under meticulous coach Joe Schmidt. (Sunday Telegraph)external-link

Robshaw got a tweet from an unlikely source - Hollywood actor Samuel L Jackson.

Samuel L Jackson tweet

Saturday, 26 September

England fly-half Owen Farrell says he has not fallen out with team-mate George Ford after being controversially selected ahead of him for Saturday's crunch match with Wales. (Guardian)external-link

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree says Wales will have "some doubts in their minds" having lost their last two meetings with England. (Daily Mirror)external-link

Dropped England hooker Dylan Hartley says England's strength off the bench will help them beat Wales - but concedes their next pool opponents Australia will be "very tough to beat". (The Sun - subscription required)external-link

World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward says he "won't be surprised if it all kicks off" at Twickenham - but backs England to prevail by three points. (Daily Mail)external-link

Wales wing George North admits that Warren Gatland's training plan may have left him "undercooked". (The Times - subscription required)external-link

The Wales squad were presented with their match jerseys for the Pool A clash by national legend Sir Tom Jones. (Wales Online)external-link

Morgan Parra and Thierry Henry
France scrum-half Morgan Parra bumped into compatriot Thierry Henry on a tour of Arsenal's training ground

Friday, 25 September

England 2003 World Cup winner Ben Cohen says he is worried what dropping George Ford for England's clash against Wales will do to the outside-half's confidence. (ESPN)external-link

Centre Sam Burgess, who starts against Wales on Saturday, has ratcheted up the tension between the sides by appearing to mischievously ask who his opposite number Scott Williams was. (Guardian)external-link

Australia forward Will Skelton, who has been wearing NFL boots because he couldn't find any rugby ones to fit him, has had footwear made specially to fit his size 19 feet. A Japanese firm worked overtime to ensure Skelton had boots for the Rugby World Cup. (Sydney Morning Herald)external-link

World's rugby clubs

Rugby Clubsexternal-link has tweeted a map with the locations of all the world's rugby clubs. According to them, New Zealand have 946 clubs, Britain and Ireland 2041 while Iceland has three.

The New Zealand Herald has described the second half of the All Blacks against Namibia as a "dire mess" as the ball was in play for only 12-and-a-half minutes. (New Zealand Herald)external-link

England's World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward believes Leigh Halfpenny's tournament-ending injury could work in Wales' favour at Twickenham, claiming stand-in Liam Williams "is a match-winner with a touch of the Serge Blanco about him". (Daily Mail)external-link

Sam Burgess said in a video posted on Instagram:external-link "I've got no scars, no victories or losses against Wales so for me it's a clean slate, a fresh page and I'm just looking forward to putting something down on that page."

Jaques Burger and Richie McCaw
Namibia captain Jacques Burger, playing in his third World Cup, received warm applause as he was substituted against the All Blacks on Thursday and afterwards met fellow back-row legend Richie McCaw

Former Wales international Owen Williams, who suffered a career-ending spinal injury last summer, has galvanised Wales with his courage. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Train times from London Paddington to Wales means fans may have to leave midway through the second half of their team's match against England if they want to catch the last train to Cardiff. (Independent)external-link

What do rugby players do when they're not playing? Tuck into a box of popcorn and watch a movie. All Blacks outside-half Dan Cater went with team-mate Waisake Naholo to the cinema and posted on Instagram:external-link "Straight out of Compton with my Fijian gangster."

Dan Carter

Thursday, 24 September

England fly-half George Ford has been "devastated" by his omission from the starting line-up to face Wales on Saturday. The 22-year-old reportedly argued his case when told that he was dropped in favour of Owen Farrell and his father, Bath coach Mike Ford, has called his demotion "mystifying". (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson has predicted that Owen Farrell's deeper starting position at fly-half will lead to centre Sam Burgess being "smashed" by Wales. (Daily Mirror)external-link

Dan Carter on Twitter
Sitting room only for London's commuters as Dan Carter, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea and co hit the tube

Former Wales captain Gareth Thomas has said he has "a hatred of the English jersey" during his playing days and that victory "gave to a nation". (The Times)external-link

Wales fans face being stranded with the last train back to Wales from London on Saturday night leaving from Paddington Station at 22:00 BST, shortly after the final whistle in Saturday's Pool A match. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

NFL agent Jack Bechta is scouting the World Cup for American football recruits and says he hopes to lure three to five players to gridiron. He has so far attended England's win over Fiji, Samoa's win over the United States and Australia's win over Fiji. (ESPN)external-link

Namibia flanker Jacques Burger carries the screws and plates that have been taken out of his body in his kitbag as a reminder of the series of serious injuries he has overcome to make the World Cup. (Daily Mail) external-link

England winger Anthony Watson reveals that he has been tucking into his mother's Nigerian cuisine as he escapes the World Cup pressure with trips back to his family home, just 20 minutes away from England's team base. (Press Association)

Jamie Roberts on Twitter
Jamie Roberts tweeted this picture of brother David with the hashtag #othersideofthelens

David Roberts, the brother of Wales centre Jamie Roberts, has been scooting up and down the sidelines as one of the tournament's television cameramen. (Jamie Roberts on Twitter)external-link

This is the first World Cup that has not begun with the sound of the whistle used in the All Blacks' "Originals" tour of Britain and France in 1905. The whistle has been used at the opening game of every other World Cup but World Rugby declined the offer of it being loaned from the New Zealand Rugby Museum for this tournament. (Stuff)external-link

Wednesday, 23 September

England coach Stuart Lancaster faces accusations of abandoning his principles after dropping fly-half George Ford for Saturday's match against Wales.(Daily Mail)external-link

Lancaster's decision to put rugby league convert Sam Burgess in England's starting line-up against Wales is a huge risk, according to former Scotland wing Kenny Logan. (Talksport)external-link

But former England hooker Brian Moore is less surprised by Burgess's call-up, tweeting:external-link "If correct, Burgess selection isn't surprising. With four centres chosen, once Joseph ruled out, it was inevitable. Farrell over Ford is a bigger call."

Nick Grimshaw and Matt Dawson
Matt Dawson appeared on Nick Grimshaw's Radio 1 breakfast show on Wednesday

Wales captain Sam Warburton says it is unfair to suggest that his England counterpart Chris Robshaw has limited ability. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

World Cup referees have been told to speed up the television referral process during matches after a series of hold-ups in the opening games at the tournament.(Daily Express)external-link

Australia coach Michael Cheika has promised to play an attacking game when his side open their World Cup against Fiji in Cardiff on Wednesday.(Daily Mail)external-link

"Be gentle with me," tweeted nervous former England scrum-half Matt Dawsonexternal-link as he was about to appear on BBC Radio 1's breakfast show on Wednesday morning. "It's a long time since I've listened to Little Mix."

Injured Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb has picked out Samson Lee as his worst room-mate on tour - because of the Scarlets prop's snoring. (Sky Sports)external-link

Tuesday, 22 September

Unsuspecting commuters at London's Victoria Station were treated to a surprise rendition of the Welsh national anthem by a flashmob led by former Wales number eight Scott Quinnell. (Wales Online) external-link

Tomas Francis, Prince William and Samson Lee
Prince William prepares to pack down

Prince William showed his support for Wales by handing out the teams caps at London's Guildhall. "I'd still back us if this was the front row!" tweeted prop Tomas Francisexternal-link as he posed with William and team-mate Samson Lee.

And the Prince, vice-patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, will be cheering for Wales when they take on England on Saturday and will be hoping a Wales win will keep his brother Harry - who holds a similar role with the Rugby Football Union - quiet. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Is rugby about to face its own "deflategate"? Romania have questioned training balls ahead of their World Cup opener against France on Wednesday. (ESPN)external-link

Fiji's Ben Volavola has said his team are drawing "hope and inspiration" from Japan's historic victory against South Africa, revealing it has given smaller nations the belief they can beat anyone in the tournament. (Sydney Morning Herald) external-link

Augstin Creevy
Argentina's players partake of cupping therapy - where suction cups are applied to different parts of the body to promote healing

Josh Strauss, on the bench for Scotland's meeting with Japan on Wednesday, has been given some new tartan scrum caps.external-link The number eight, 28, only qualified to play for Scotland a day after the tournament started.

Former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff is one of many celebrities to get World Cup fever, tweeting All Black outside-half Dan Carter after New Zealand beat Argentina on Sunday: "Hey shout out to @DanCarter good luck was honoured to meet and get Sir John Kirwan's jersey a few years back... See you on the pitch!!"

David Hasselhoff

Australia full-back Israel Folau says he wants to dominate this World Cup and carve out his own place in history alongside players such as Jonah Lomu. (New Zealand Herald)external-link

Wales have revealed the secrets of their rendition of Welsh folk song 'Lawr Ar Lan Y Mor' at London's Guildhall, saying they had been practising for a number of weeks under the tutelage of singer Wynne Evans, a man better known for featuring in the Go Compare adverts. (Wales Online) external-link

Wales squad's musical turn

England have been warned to brace themselves for a "smash and grab" raid on Twickenham this Saturday, masterminded by Wales's artful coach Warren Gatland. (Guardian)external-link

Ireland's Iain Henderson and Johnny Sexton, Wales centre Cory Allen and England duo Mike Brown and Tom Youngs make French website Rugbyrama's team of the tournament after the first round of matches. (Rugbyrama) external-link

Were South Africa's preparations ahead of their surprise defeat by Japan scuppered by some of Brighton's local wildlife? Apparently an invasion of seagulls at their Eastbourne College base made their training pitches less than inviting. (

Former Springboks coach Jake White says that South Africa have become "ordinary" and that the team looked like they had no gameplan against Japan.(L'Equipe)external-link

Rugby World Cup officials are seeking ways to alleviate the delays caused by television match official (TMO) decisions. A number of fans were irked by the delays in awarding tries over the weekend as referees opted to review their decisions with the TMO.(ESPN)external-link

Monday, 21 September

Japan head coach Eddie Jones says he was urging his side to kick for the draw just before they scored the try that secured a 34-32 win over South Africa on Saturday. (Daily Mail)external-link

Asahi Shimbun
Japan's heroics make the front page of the Asahi Shimbun

World Rugby chief Brett Gosper tweeted that a rush of Japan fans on the tournament's Oxford Street storeexternal-link forced its temporary closure.

Japan's win also caught the eye of San Francisco running back and former rugby league star Jarryd Hayne, who tweeted his congratulations.external-link

Former England lock Steve Borthwick, now Japan's forwards coach, has told Scotland he "wouldn't rule out" another Japan win when the two sides meet on Wednesday. (Daily Star)external-link

South African Super Rugby side Stormers - perhaps sensing this was a good moment to release the news - have announced that Japan coach Jones has been hired to serve as their new coach once the World Cup is over. (Stormers)external-link

South Africa fan Ron Rutland cycled all the way from his homeland to Brighton - a journey of more than 26,000 miles and two years - only to see his side lose the opening match of the tournament. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Sonny Bill Williams, 30, says he has forgiven Nehe Milner-Skudder, 24, for dropping a pass near the tryline during New Zealand's win over Argentina - because he has been mocking the winger's haircut all week.(TVNZ)external-link

England centre Sam Burgess, 26, has said he thought he "added something" to the team when coming off the bench in the win over Fiji on Friday and is adamant he is ready for a starting role. (ESPN)external-link

American broadcaster Universal Sports has apologised after its website crashed while trying to stream live coverage of the USA's game against Samoa to fans who had paid $27.95 to watch that game. (Guardian)external-link

Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and Levan Chilachava
Australia's Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell (left and right) meet up with Georgia prop and Toulon team-mate Levan Chilachava in Bristol

Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb, 26, has tweeted a picture of himselfexternal-link on a mobility scooter after a foot injury ruled him out of the tournament.

England hooker Tom Youngs, 28, says there is no need to panic despite an uncertain start to the tournament as they beat Fiji 35-11 on Friday. (Daily Mail)external-link

Fly-half Owen Farrell, 23, says that his England team-mates will overpower Wales' injury-depleted squad at Twickenham next weekend. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Samoa's players serenaded Joost van der Westhuizen, who is critically ill with motor neurone disease, with a traditional hymn when they met the former South Africa scrum-half in Brighton. (Samoa Facebook page)external-link

Irish website SportsJoe has wished their team luck in unique style - by superimposing their heads onto the gyrating bodies of Boyzoneexternal-link from an early television appearance by the boyband.

Sunday, 20 September

South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer, captain Jean de Villiers and lock Victor Matfield could all face the axe after their World Cup defeat to Japan. (Sunday Times South Africa)external-link

Front page of South Africa's Sunday Times
Front page of South Africa's Sunday Times

Centre Sam Burgess could start for England against Wales after impressing in a 20-minute cameo against Fiji. (Daily Star Sunday)external-link

And the Rugby League convert has been backed to make "the difference" for Stuart Lancaster's side, by Bath director of rugby Mike Ford. (Mail on Sunday)external-link

England number eight Billy Vunipola has told Wales head coach Warren Gatland not to bother with mind games before their match on Saturday. (Sunday Express)external-link

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter says he "trusts his body" and wants to go out on a high by winning the World Cup. (Sunday Telegraph)external-link

Wales captain Sam Warburton says he might retire if Wales win the World Cup. (Daily Star Sunday)external-link

Singer Camilla Kerslake, the girlfriend of England captain Chris Robshaw, has dismissed reports of a rift between the team's wives and girlfriends. (Sunday Mirror)external-link

England's World Cup winner Martin Johnson has warned the side against complacency in their big showdown against Wales. (Sunday Mirror)external-link

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, the most capped player in history, says he is still learning and has backed England captain Robshaw. (Observer)external-link

Saturday, 19 September

Former Australian captain John Eales was trapped in a lift for more than 40 minutes at Twickenham while trying to get to the World Cup opening ceremony. Eales helped calm the 15 fans he was trapped with, by telling them his predictions for the World Cup, including an England v New Zealand final. (Telegraph)external-link

Sir Clive Woodward has criticised the overuse of television match officials after referee Jaco Peyper used it six times during England's win over Fiji. (Daily Mail)external-link

Sale Sharks fly-half Danny Cipriani, who was left out of England's World Cup squad, has tweetedexternal-link his congratulations to England after their bonus-point victory.

New Zealand will field the most capped side in Rugby World Cup history against Argentina on Sunday, with 1,013 caps. (Daily Express)external-link

The Tonga government has designated Saturday as Red Day for the team's match against Georgia, encouraging the country's population of 100,000 to wear the team colour to business and church. (Guardian)external-link

Fiji winger Nemani Nadolo has hit back at a comment made by an ITV commentator during the World Cup opener that there is "only one TV in Fiji." (Nemani Nadolo on Twitter)external-link

Australia's David Pocock has said as a child he idolised former South Africa backrower Bobby Skinstad and aged 11, he burst into tears when Stephen Larkham slotted an extra-time drop goal to lift the Wallabies to victory against South Africa in the 1999 World Cup semi-final. (Sydney Morning Herald)external-link

Friday, 18 September

England's players will share almost £6m if they win the World Cup, the largest incentive ever for any team. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Fiji winger Nemani Nadolo, 27, says he was fortunate to play football growing up, and enjoys proving people who question his size wrong. (Guardian)external-link

World Cup winner Jason Robinson says England must come out firing if they are to stop Fiji demonstrating their skill. (Evening Standard)external-link

England will wear red and use the visitors' dressing room when they play Fiji on Friday night.(Guardian)external-link

David Cameron, Prince Harry and Jason Leonard
Jason Leonard greeted David Cameron and Prince Harry at Thursday's World Cup Welcome party

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has made no secret of the fact England are being lined up as the key game of the so-called pool of death.(Independent)external-link

The number of private school graduates in England's World Cup squad numbers 20, while Wales have five.(Daily Mail)external-link

Chris Robshaw will lead his country out at Twickenham on Friday, but his old school teachers would never have bet on him becoming England captain. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw says the familiar territory of Kingsholm, where he plays club rugby for Gloucester, will help his country off to a World Cup flier against Japan on Wednesday. (Daily Record)external-link

More from rugby:
Wales can be 'silent assassins' - Marshall
O'Connell a great teacher - Best
Get World Cup alerts direct to your phone
Rugby World Cup 2015 schedule
For the latest rugby union news, follow @bbcrugbyunionexternal-link on Twitter

Thursday, 17 September

Joe Tomane by a Japanese fan

Australia wing Joe Tomane - complete with voluminous hair - has been immortalised in wool by an ingenious Japanese fan.external-link

New Zealand's players will change out of their training kit on the team bus to ensure that their sponsor gets maximum exposure and to avoid falling foul of tournament rules that ban commercial logos at team bases or at matches. (NZ Herald)external-link

Uruguay centre Alberto Roman has his tongue firmly in his cheek when he compared his team to one of his country's most famous sporting export. "I know everyone in England loves Luis Suarez," he said. "I can promise everyone that there will not be any Suarez incidents with us." (Daily Express)external-link

Wales second row Dominic Day has revealed that head coach Warren Gatland was the ropiest dancer when a DJ and disco lights were brought into the gym. (Sky Sports)external-link

Sir Pita Sharples, a former co-leader of the Maori Party, has described the "hakarena" led by England World Cup winner Matt Dawson as "pretty shameful". Dawson is part of video in which the traditional pre-match challenge is mixed with the dance that accompanied the nineties hit Macarena. (Times)external-link

Namani Nadolo
Fiji wing Nemani Nadolo warms up for Friday's opener against England by going super-size on his morning coffee

England second row Courtney Lawes had a less-than-diplomatic answer when asked who his favourite England player of all time is. "Manu Tuilagi. What a player, a real force, there is no other player I would want in my team," he replied. Tuilagi has said he feels "harshly treated" after he was excluded from the England squad following an assault on two police officers. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Twitter have released a new set of emojis to mark the start of the World Cup, containing the teams' three-letter abbreviations, national colours and motivational slogans.

Fans attending some World Cup matches will be paying more for beer, programmes and food than at other events staged at the same venues. (Daily Telegraph) external-link

England rugby-league convert Sam Burgess has denied he is planning a post World-Cup return to the 13-man code and suggested the rumour was aimed to "unsettle" him. (Sydney Morning Herald)external-link

The South Africa team that will take on Japan in their World Cup opener on Saturday is the most-capped in their history. Heyenke Meyer's starting XV have 880 caps between them - an average of more than 58 for each player. (Times) external-link

The RFU will maintain its policy of not selecting overseas-based players for the England team for another eight years, taking in the World Cups in 2019 and 2023. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

Number eight Jamie Heaslip reveals that Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregorexternal-link has sent the squad personalised good luck messages.

Conor McGregor signed photo
McGregor beat American Chad Mendes in July to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship interim featherweight title

Wednesday, 16 September

Ryan Crotty on a unicorn

The All Blacks are part of a star-studded charity single released in the build-up to the tournament. Lord of the Rings director Sir Peter Jackson, Flight of the Conchords duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, global pop sensation Lorde and pop star Daniel Bedingfield feature in the video for Team Ball Player Thing. As does New Zealand utility back Ryan Crotty - riding a unicorn. (Youtube)external-link

Can you pin a video to the dressing-room wall for motivation? Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson has risked the wrath of the All Blacks by re-working their pre-match challenge, incorporating a mid-90s latin mega-hit, and coming up with the "hakarena". (Youtube)external-link

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny included the hashtag #morphinepleasenurse

Injured Wales duo Leigh Halfpennyexternal-link and Rhys Webb,external-link who have been ruled out of the tournament, posed for hospital-bed selfies on Twitter after surgery.

A petition has been launched in New Zealand calling on employers to shift the working day back to allow rugby fans to watch All Blacks matches, which kick off early in the morning local time.

A French journalist has been less than impressed by the London suburb of Croydon, where he has been sent to cover his national team. Sebastien Coca describes Croydon as "dull and monotonous", before describing how it was the scene of unrest during the 2011 England riots. (

Even newborn babies will need tickets to attend World Cup matches, with some parents struggling to find seats for children who will sit on their knee in any case. (Times)external-link

Teams have been welcomed to their tournament bases, with Tonga gracing Cheltenham Town Hall external-linkand Australia wing Joe Tomane struggling to contain his hair beneath his commemorative cap.

Australia wing Joe Tomane
Tomane played for NRL sides Melbourne Storm and Gold Coast Titans before switching to union

New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams believes fellow cross-code convert Sam Burgess is more suited to playing at flanker than the midfield role he has been handed by England coach Stuart Lancaster. (Daily Telegraph)external-link

New Zealand centre Ma'a Nonu's biggest problem acclimatising to England has been getting used to the hundreds of channels on his hotel television. (Stuff)external-link

The father of Scotland flanker John Hardie will entrust lambing season on the family farm to someone else for the first time in more than 30 years so he can watch his son in World Cup action. (Scotsman)external-link

England Rugby tweeted a picture of the teamsheet from the 58-23 win over Fiji in 1989 - the first time the Pacific Islanders played the full England side at Twickenham. However, they tagged 2003 World Cup-winning flanker Richard Hill in the image, to his consternation, rather than the former scrum-half of the same name.

Richard Hill on Twitter