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Rugby World Cup


Robert Kitson While South Africa’s final surge tipped the scales in a couple of positions, Pieter-Steph du Toit is an unlucky absentee. But how could you possibly omit the incredible Japan captain, Michael Leitch, or the youthful Tom Curry from the back row? Only one All Black tells its own story but the semi-final against …

New to rugby but do not want to sound like a novice during the World Cup final? Never fear, mask your bewilderment of arcane rules and rituals with these talking points and pass yourself off as someone who could hold their own among the most passionate Shed Heads or mustard-trousered denizens of Twickenham’s Guinness Surge Bar.  …

England’s only change sees Ben Spencer replace the injured Willi Heinz on the bench as Eddie Jones unsurprisingly names the same starting XV that so soundly beat the All Blacks. South Africa also make just a single personnel swap, the fit again livewire and recent World Player of the Year nominee Cheslin Kolbe into the …

Hansen makes seven changes to his semi-final team – and it’s not just the coaches signing off from All Blacks’ rugby today. Captain Kieran Read is also retiring, along with Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty, who both start today. Ardie Savea’s injury gives Shannon Frizell a chance to start at No 6. Injuries have badly …

Eoin Morgan, a World Cup-winning captain this year, has urged England’s rugby team to stick to the methods that have served them so well when they face South Africa in the Yokohama final on Saturday. Morgan, a keen Saracens fan, has spoken to the hooker Jamie George about the secrets to delivering on the big …

By his own admission it has been a crazy few days for the England rugby player Ben Spencer. He seems almost sheepish when he says that his is not quite the Cinderella story famously told by the former New Zealand World Cup winner Stephen Donald – “I was just at home, feeding the kids” – …

England’s preparations for the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday hit a glitch with Eddie Jones’s backroom staff unable to use their drone to record training sessions because their Tokyo base is close to an airport. England had to seek permission to use their drone from tournament organisers but they cannot do so in the …

By his own admission George North is yet to fire in Japan but with Wales in a World Cup semi-final with South Africa on Sunday morning Warren Gatland will hope his best is yet to come. Gatland is in his last campaign as Wales head coach and only a giant Springbok outfit stand between him …

Eddie Jones returns to the Ford-Farrell axis and moves Henry Slade to the bench despite his impressive display against Australia. The only other change sees Lewis Ludlam give up his bench spot to the indefatigable gnarly physicality of Mark Wilson. It should be quite a tussle when both Wilson and the All Black Sam Cane …

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has attempted to crank up the pressure on England and his counterpart Eddie Jones by citing the team’s pool stage exit at the 2015 World Cup. Jones said this week that New Zealand will have ‘pressure chasing them down the street’ ahead of their semi-final meeting on Saturday but Hansen, …