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Sione Vaiomo'unga

Sione Vaiomo’unga

Tonga captain Nili Latu has expressed his gratitude to the Romanian team ahead of the RWC 2015 for their help in aiding his friend and former teammate Sione Vaiomo’unga, who is suffering from life-threatening kidney failure.

The former Tonga flanker was the only player in the 2011 RWC squad to play in the Tongan domestic divisions at the time before going on to join Tonga’s European tour a year later.

Now residing in Romania, 26-year-old Vaiomo’unga cannot receive dialysis treatment in Europe, Australia or New Zealand because he is a Tongan national and won’t find the care he needs in his homeland either.

To help the best they can during his plight, the Tonga and Romania unions dedicated their final World Cup warm-up fixture in Bucharest on 5 September to raising money for his treatment.

Following the fixture, the two nations pulled together more than 10,000 euros for Vaiomo’unga and his family.

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FranceItalyThere will be a Six Nations re-match as France and Italy do battle at Twickenham in the fifth match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup on Saturday night. The teams are in Pool D, alongside Ireland, Canada and Romania, and the match kicks off at 20:00 UK Time (21:00 SA Time).

Italy, who have made four changes since their last test, will set a new World Cup record for the most experienced front row as their starting trio boast a total of 227 test caps. The current record was set in 2011 when a front row with 215 caps between them took the field for the Springboks against Namibia.

Martin Castogiavanni will become Italy’s most capped player as he makes his 114th appearance for his country. He will reach this landmark as Sergio Parisse misses out due to injury. Leonarodo Ghiraldini will captain Italy for the 10th time in the absence of Parisse.

France’s coach Phillipe Saint-Andre has named a team that contains two South African born players – starting Fullback Scott Spedding and Loose forward Bernard le Roux who is on the bench. Rory Kockott misses out on selection for this match altogether. France will be captained by Thierry Dussatoir.

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Josh Strauss

Josh Strauss

WP Nel

WP Nel

You would think after years of repeated and soul-destroying failure in the Six Nations, those with an affection for the Scotland team would be looking at the upcoming Rugby World Cup with some trepidation.

Some do fear that a 2nd successive group stage exit is a distinct possibility but others will tell you that this tournament represents an opportunity for an emerging squad to spring some shocks on the rugby elite.

Scotland begin their campaign against Japan at Kingsholm on 23 September before facing the USA and 2-time champions South Africa ahead of the final – and potentially decisive – pool match against Samoa.

3 Former Scotland internationals were asked to assess how Scotland will fare in the World Cup.

  • Chris Paterson ( CP ) is Scotland’s record cap holder and played in 4 World Cups from 1999 through to 2007.
  • Peter Wright ( PW ) won 21 caps for Scotland, played at the 1995 World Cup and was selected for the 1993 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
  • John Beattie ( JB ) appeared 25 times for Scotland, was part of the 1984 Grand Slam winning squad and toured twice with the British & Irish Lions.

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EnglandEngland head coach Stuart Lancaster has retained the team that beat Ireland in the warm-ups for their Rugby World Cup opening match against Fiji.

The only change to the match day 23 is on the replacements’ bench with Rob Webber (Bath) replacing Jamie George (Saracens).

Scrumhalf Ben Youngs retains his place in the starting line-up ahead of Richard Wigglesworth on the replacements bench.

Leicester Tigers scrumhalf Youngs will win his 50th cap for England in the Rugby World Cup tournament opener after winning his 1st cap in 2010.

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ScotlandHooker Kevin Bryce has been drafted into the Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup as a replacement for Stuart McInally, who has been ruled out through injury, confirmed today.

McInally marked his 1st and 2nd international appearances in Scotland’s back-to-back wins over Italy last month before being named in the 31-man squad.

However a MRI scan at Spire Murrayfield Hospital revealed the extent of a subsequent, ongoing neck complaint that necessitates a prolonged period of recovery beyond the competition.

As a result Glasgow Warriors hooker Kevin Bryce – another back-row convert who made his Scotland debut as a loose forward on last year’s summer tour – has been brought into the squad as his direct replacement.

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Rugby World Cup 2015A popular topic of debate heading into the Rugby World Cup is that of eligibility, particularly that resulting from the residency method. We take a look at the foreign-born players in each squad, where they were born and how they are eligible.

An interesting fact – only Argentina can claim that all 31 players in their squad are native to their country. The other 19 teams all have players born abroad, including significant numbers in some of rugby’s most powerful nations.

All told, Rugby World Cup 2015 will have a grand total of 33 countries involved in the tournament. Players born in various African countries –  Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Zimbabwe join the participating Namibia and South Africa. Zimbabwe has players representing 4 countries, more than any other non-competitor.

Spain is another country not present at the Rugby World Cup who have players representing multiple countries while other countries include Belgium, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands are also all represented.

Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa lead the way in terms of players representing others at the Rugby World Cup.

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Sergio Parisse

Sergio Parisse

Italy captain Sergio Parisse has declared himself unfit for the opening Rugby World Cup clash against France at Twickenham next week.

The 31-year-old Argentine-born No 8, capped 112 times by Italy and their star player, has not fully recovered after undergoing surgery to drain a hematoma last Monday.

He picked up the injury, a swelling of clotted blood, in a muscle in his left leg in Italy’s World Cup warm-up defeat to Wales in Cardiff last weekend.

The Italian federation initially said Parisse would not meet up with the Italy team in Rome on Saturday, but would instead link up “at a later date” in England.

Italy coach Jacques Brunel played down Parisse’s absence, but admitted the experienced Stade Francais player, considered 1 of the world’s best in his position, would be missed.

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France Logo4 Years on and the perennial question arises: which France side will turn up at the Rugby World Cup?

The 1 that, of all the northern hemisphere nations, reserves their best rugby for confronting traditional favourites the All Blacks at the quadrennial showpiece… OR the 1 that for all their natural talent sometimes looks a shambles?

A perfect example of this Jekyll and Hyde character was the manner they stumbled to defeat to Tonga 4 years ago before amazingly running the All Blacks close in the final.

Truth be told things are no clearer 4 years on as the reign of Philippe Saint-Andre has failed to produce any more rhythm or consistency to their performances and results than under previous coach Marc Lievremont.

Indeed under Saint-Andre they have never finished higher than 4th in the Six Nations, filling that spot on 3 occasions, and even had the humbling experiencing of finishing rock bottom in 2013.

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Victor Matfield

Victor Matfield

Springbok lock Victor Matfield will join the Northampton Saints on a 1-year deal at the end of this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Matfield, who at the age of 38 captained the Springboks earlier this year against Australia and Argentina, will join up with the British club for a swansong to end his career after the Springboks conclude their Rugby World Cup commitments.

He has been released from his coaching contract by mutual agreement by the Blue Bulls Company, after requesting a release earlier this week.

South Africa’s most capped Springbok and Rugby World Cup squad member, Matfield, is widely seen as possibly the greatest lock ever to play the game, and has been capped 123 times for the Springboks as he heads into his 4th Rugby World Cup.

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Salesi Ma'afu

Salesi Ma’afu

Former Australian international prop Salesi Ma’afu could face jail after French prosecutors on Tuesday requested an 8-month prison sentence and a € 1 500.00 fine for an alleged assault.

The 32-year-old Toulon player, capped 14 times, is believed to have been involved in a heated argument over a parking place on 16 August and to have hit someone who attempted to intervene.

Ma’afu has not sparkled in pre-season friendlies since he joined the 3-time European champions from English side Northampton, and only came on for the last half hour of the opening day defeat to Racing-Metro.

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Mourad Boudjellal

Mourad Boudjellal

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has denied any wrongdoing on the part of the club or players with regard to allegations surrounding a criminal investigation.

Reports in French media have stated that pharmacists illegally distributed products to the French Top 14 club’s players.

Prosecutors in Marseille confirmed on Tuesday that they have launched an investigation into the practices of a number of pharmacies in Toulon following a notification from AFDL, France’s anti-doping authority.

However, Boudjellal has held a press conference to rubbish the reports.

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Sergio Parisse

Sergio Parisse

Italy captain Sergio Parisse is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup after undergoing surgery to drain a hematoma.

The charismatic No 8 returned to the National side last weekend in a warm-up match against Wales in Cardiff but sustained a knock to his left leg in the 19 / 23 defeat.

The surgery took place in Paris where the 31-year-old Argentine-born flank had a swelling of clotted blood drained.

Further details on his expected absence would be revealed following tests “in the coming days”.

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World RugbySouth Africa moved up to 3rd place in the World Rankings without even kicking a ball.

It means the Springboks have climbed 2 places in the World Rankings since their last match – a win over Argentina in Buenos Aires, last month.

Their rise, despite the team’s inactivity, is the result of Ireland’s dramatic slump – the men from the Emerald Isle having lost to Wales (10 / 16) and England (13 / 21) in the past fortnight.

As a result, Rugby Championship heavyweights New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will go into the Rugby World Cup as the Top 3 nations in the rankings.

Ireland’s rating fell by 0.79 points and resulted in a 3-place drop to 6 for the Six Nations Champions, placing them below the Springboks.

England gained the same amount of points to leapfrog their Pool A opponents Wales into 4th.

Long-time leaders New Zealand remain untouchable – for a fortnight at least – on 92.89 points, with Australia 6.22 points behind in 2nd and South Africa a further 1.52 points back in 3rd.

Australia were unable to make up any ground on their arch rivals, despite being the only one of the 3 in action over the weekend.

Their 47 / 10 win over the USA Eagles in Chicago did not come with any ratings points, given the double-figure difference in rankings positions and rating points between the nations.

Serious injuries to star fullback Leigh Halfpenny and scrumhalf Rhys Webb, made it a day to forget for Wales, who scraped home 23 / 19 against Italy at the Millennium Stadium.

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Left: Warren Gatland, Wales coach Top Right: Rhys Webb injured Bottom Right: Leigh Halfpenny stretchered off

Left: Warren Gatland, Wales coach
Top Right: Rhys Webb injured
Bottom Right: Leigh Halfpenny stretchered off

Following Saturday’s narrow win over Italy, Wales have now been hit by the news and reality that Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb are out of the Rugby Wolrd Cup, their injuries serious enough to keep them out of the tournament in total.


Leigh Halfpenny:

Leigh Halfpenny suffered torn right knee ligaments in a warm-up match against Italy at the weekend.

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Chiliboy RalepelleSouth Africa’s Mahlatse ‘Chiliboy’ Ralepelle has been handed a 2-year ban for a doping offence, World Rugby, the sport’s global governing body, said on Sunday.

He will be free to play again on 10 April 2016, with his ban starting from the time of his provisional suspension last year.

Ralepelle, who won the last of his 22 Springbok caps in 2013, initially challenged his provisional suspension but gave up his right to appeal on Thursday.

When the 28-year-old hooker underwent an out-of-competition doping control on 19 March 2014, while recovering from surgery following a knee injury sustained playing for Toulouse against French rivals Biarritz in France in February of that year, the analysis of the sample returned a positive test for a metabolite of a banned anabolic steroid, drostanolone.

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World RugbyThere were some very interesting results on the weekend in the last Rugby World Cup warm-up matches, befor the world showpiece starts on 18 September in England.

  • England beat Ireland at Twickenham, by 21 / 13.
  • Wales barely beat Italy by 23 / 19 but at the same time suffered 2 huge injury blows, one to Rhys Webb and the other to Leigh Halfpenny.
  • France edged a spirited Scotland side at Stade de Framce, by 19 / 16.
  • The Australian Wallabies romped past the USA Eagles by 47 / 10 at Soldier Field.
  • Fiji put Canada to the sword by 47 / 18.
  • Tonga beat Romania by 21 / 16.
  • Japan beat Georgia 13 / 10.
  • Samoa beat Wasps 25 / 19.
  • Argentina beat Leicester 55 / 34.

It is the major results we will focus on however…

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Sergio Parisse

Sergio Parisse

Italian general Sergio Parisse has returned to lead his troops into battle against Wales at Cardiff on Saturday.

Parisse, who was sidelined with flu for the past 3 matches, is back at the helm of the Azzurri and at the base of the scrum in the No 8 jersey.

Parisse is 1 of 7 changes to coach Jacques Brunel’s starting line-up with Edoardo Gori back from suspension to provide some experience at scrumhalf.

Other changes are Andrea Masi, Leonardo Sarto and Gonzalo Garcia who are all added to the backline.

Up front, Michele Rizzo starts at loosehead prop, while Quintin Geldenhuys comes in for Marco Fuser at lock.

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IrelandIreland have left out prop Cian Healy and fullback Rob Kearney from the side to play England in their final World Cup warm-up match.

The 2 sides will go head-to-head at Twickenham on Saturday.

Joe Schmidt, the Ireland coach, has decided to give Healy more time to recover following the loosehead’s long-standing neck problems.

Healy only returned to full training this week, following neck surgery in May, and at one stage, was doubtful even to make Ireland’s final 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.

Jack McGrath starts in his place.

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Wynand Olivier

Wynand Olivier

Pierre Spies

Pierre Spies

Former Springboks Pierre Spies and Wynand Olivier will start for the Barbarians when they tackle English club Worcester Warriors this weekend.

World Cup winner Ali Williams has been named captain of the BaaBaas, replacing South African Bakkies Botha who led the team against Samoa last week.

The former New Zealand lock leads a cosmopolitan team with internationals from 8 different nations at Sixways on Saturday.

The famous invitation side made 6 changes to the team that beat Samoa at the former Olympic Stadium last weekend.

Australia flyhalf Mike Harris and wing Dom Shipperley come into the backline alongside veteran Italy scrumhalf Paul Griffen.

Up front, Williams, Tolu Latu (Waratahs) and former USA captain Todd Clever all step into the starting line-up.

Recently added to this week’s squad is Aled Brew (Dragons & Wales) who takes over from Stade Francais fullback Paul Williams.

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Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton

Wales captain Sam Warburton is set to make his 1st appearance of the Rugby World Cup warm-up campaign.

He was named to lead the side in Saturday’s match against Italy at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

The openside flank suffered a shoulder injury in training last month and was rested from Wales’ 16 / 10 win away to Six Nations champions Ireland in Dublin last weekend.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has named a strong side for Wales’ final World Cup tune-up fixture.

Warburton is part of a new look back row – alongside James King at flank and Taulupe Faletau at No 8.

The same front row which faced Ireland in Dublin last weekend will start against Italy – with the World’s most capped prop Gethin Jenkins packing down with Ken Owens and Tomas Francis, who will make his 1st appearance at the Millennium Stadium.

Jake Ball and Dominic Day are named in the 2nd row.

Halfbacks Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar continue their partnership, whilst there is a new look midfield with Scott Williams lining up alongside Cory Allen.

The back 3 from Dublin also remains unchanged with George North and Alex Cuthbert on the wings and Leigh Halfpenny at fullback.

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Thierry Dusautoir

Thierry Dusautoir

Influential French captain Thierry Dusautoir returns to action for his team’s final warm-up game against Scotland at Stade de France on Saturday.

The 33-year-old flank, who skippered France into the Rugby World Cup final in New Zealand 4 years ago, has been sidelined for a month with a knee injury and missed the 1st 2 preparation games against England.

But with the Rugby World Cup opener against Italy looming on 19 September, coach Philippe Saint-Andre deemed it appropriate to recall his right-hand man on the pitch.

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Flip van der Merwe

Flip van der Merwe

Blue Bulls & Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has been released from his contract at the Vodacom Blue Bulls with immediate effect.

While the Blue Bulls initially decided that Van der Merwe was necessary for their ABSA Currie Cup campaign, his call-up to the Springboks a few weeks ago negated this and they had to find a way to do without him.

The Blue Bulls initially were worried about a lack of experience in the team but their good start to the Currie Cup season, where they are still unbeaten after 4 Rounds has led them to back their youngsters.

When Van der Merwe didn’t make the cut for the Springbok squad to the Rugby World Cup, it was decided to release him from his contract so that he could further his career in France.

Van der Merwe signed with French Top 14 club Clermont Auvergne during this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season, at the same time as another Bulls lock, Jacques du Plessis, signed with Montpellier.

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World RugbyInternational rugby’s ruling body, World Rugby, are expected to sanction an experiment in Wales that will see 6 points being awarded for tries and 2 points for all kicks…

The sports governing body are constantly reviewing the rules in rugby and looking at ways to improve the game and this experiment is expected to promote scoring tries instead taking kicks for points.

The experiement is expected to go ahead in Wales’ 2nd-tier Premiership which is made up of semi-professional teams and includes some of the biggest clubs in the history of the Welsh game and includes Pontypridd, Llanelli, Cardiff and Newport.

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IrelandIreland’s 2014 Player of the Year Andrew Trimble has been omitted from coach Joe Schmidt’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup, announced on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old had missed this years’ Six Nations through injury but had returned to action this year and was available for the global showpiece.

Trimble has played just once for Ireland in the past 12 months, in a 35 / 12 victory over Wales in a World Cup warm-up match on 8 August, but a flare-up of his toe injury meant he played only 33 minutes of that game.

Wings Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald, who were injured during Saturday’s Dublin defeat by Wales, are included the squad.

Trimble, Gordan D’Arcy, Kieran Marmion were notably the most high profile players to miss out on the plane.

D’Arcy’s omission could signal the end of his illustrious international career.

The squad is made up of 17 Forwards and 14 Backs and will be captained by Paul O’Connell who is the most capped player in the Ireland group with 103 caps.

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ScotlandScotland’s 31-man Rugby World Cup squad has been named, the players have been told, and it was publicly announced this afternoon at Edinburgh University.

After almost 3 months of hard training and 2 wins out of 3 in the warm-up games, Vern Cotter has made his decision and the paperwork has been delivered to the tournament organisers. Supporters were treated at the Old College Quad to see today’s announcement, which was made at 14:30 BST (15:30 SA Time), and supporters had a chance to mingle with the players afterwards.

Following Saturday’s 48 / 7 win over Italy at BT Murrayfield, Cotter and his coaching staff met for final discussions and assessments of the medical reports before confirming the squad and informing the players of the decision.

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Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland

Wales coach Warren Gatland named prop Samson Lee in his 31-man squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Lee has not played since rupturing his Achilles tendon in March.

Flyhalf Gareth Anscombe was left out in favour of Matthew Morgan.

Wales are in Pool A with hosts England, Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.

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ScotlandThe Scotland team and the 2 Scottish PRO12 teams, Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, were in action this weekend playing warm-up matches.

Scotland faced Italy for the 2nd weekend in a row in the 3rd of their 4 Rugby World Cup warm-up matches. The game was played at Murrayfield in front of what was said to be a record crowd for a summer Test match. The team that ran out must have been close to Vern Cotter’s 1st choice 15 and they did not disappoint running in 6 tries and only conceding 1 in a very impressive performance.

WP Nel put in a solid performance which saw Italy’s scrum in trouble from the word go. The pressure Nel put on Italy’s loosehead prop earned Scotland a few penalties with the loosehead resorting to scrumming in on various occasions.

The next game of the day also took place in Edinburgh where the hosts took on Ulster in a preseason warm-up match, 1 week ahead of the start of the PRO12 for 2015 / 2016. The game was played at Heriot FC’s ground Goldenacre due to the Test match which was played earlier in the day at Murrayfield.

Head coach Alan Solomons would have been pleased to see his team get their 2nd win in their 2nd preseason friendly match against what was a fairly strong starting Ulster line-up.

The final game of the day, which was billed as the ‘Battle of New Scotland’, saw Canada host Glasgow Warriors in Halifax Nova Scotia.

Josh Strauss played the whole game for the Warriors ahead of possible inclusion in the Scotland World Cup squad. Former Glasgow Warriors winger DTH vd Merwe scored a try for Canada late in the game to ensure victory for them. The game was played in quite high temperatures and there were a few water breaks during the game.

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WP Nel

WP Nel

WP Nel is due to start a test match for Scotland for the 1st time when they face Italy at BT Murrayfield on Saturday. The burly tighthead prop from Loeriesfontein qualifies to play for Scotland on residency grounds, having played for Edinburgh for the last 3 years. Nel who earned his 1st Scotland cap against Italy in Turin last weekend when he came on as a substitute in the 47th minunte is 1 of 14 changes that has been made to the starting team.

Sean Lamont is the only player who retains his place in the starting line-up from last week with several players in the match day squad making their 1st appearance in this series of warm-up matches.

Head coach Vern Cotter announced his team today and the starting line-up appears to be close to what could be considered his 1st choice 15. The halfbacks and fullback look to be Cotter’s favoured choices while there may still be 1 or 2 changes on the wings and 1 at centre. Up front we are likely to be seeing the 1st choice tight 5 in action while there will possibly still be a change or 2 to the loose forward trio.

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Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess was included in England’s final 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup announced on Thursday just 10 months after changing codes from rugby league.

Burgess, the man-of-the-match in South Sydney Rabbitohs’ win in the Australian National Rugby League Grand Final, was included after playing just 70 minutes of Test rugby union – his debut in a 19 / 14 win over France at Twickenham a fortnight ago seeing him sin-binned for 10 minutes.

The 26-year-old edged out the more experienced Luther Burrell for a place among England coach Stuart Lancaster’s centres even though Burgess spent much of last season playing as a back-row forward for Bath.

Henry Slade, who also impressed on his debut against France at Twickenham, was also included in midfield alongside Burgess – although Jonathan Joseph and Brad Barritt appear to be England’s 1st-choice centres.

Ben Morgan, only recently returned from a broken leg, was included among the back-row forwards with Harlequins veteran Nick Easter missing out while Sale flyhalf Danny Cipriani, as was widely forecast, also failed to make it to the final squad.

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Valerio Bernabo

Valerio Bernabo

Italy veteran Marco Bortolami was sidelined, while Valerio Bernabo was a surprise inclusion in Italy’s 31-man squad for the World Cup.

Lock Bortolami, has amassed 112 caps for the Azzurri and captained them 40 times.

He was 1 of several players cut from an initial 40-man training squad by coach Jacques Brunel.

“It was very difficult to communicate the decision, especially when you’ve put in as much work as the lads have over the past 9 weeks,” said Brunel.

“So to tell several players they were not coming to the World Cup was particularly difficult.”

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EnglandWith England’s recent loss to France in Paris the Springboks have bumped up 1 place to 4th in the World Rugby rankings.

The Spriongboks slumped to a lowly 5th place in the World of their loss to Argentina in Durban during The Rugby Championship, however Rugby World Cup hosts England have now claimed that spot.

With 1 match to go before the start of the Rugby World Cup, England find themselves in danger of going into the tournament ranked lower than Pool A rivals Australia and Wales.

Stuart Lancaster’s men are now just 1.3 points ahead of 6th-placed Wales, who travel to Dublin to play Ireland on Saturday. England conclude their Rugby World Cup warm-up campaign against the Irish the following weekend.

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Salesi Ma'afu

Salesi Ma’afu

Australian international prop Salesi Ma’afu is in custody over an alleged assault, a police source said on Monday.

The 32-year-old Toulon player, capped 14 times by the Wallabies, is believed to have been involved in a heated argument over a parking place on 16 August and is reported to have hit someone who attempted to intervene.

Ma’afu has not sparkled in pre-season friendlies since he joined the 3-time European champions from English side Northampton, and only came on for the last half hour of the opening day 22 / 27 defeat to Racing-Metro on Friday.

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Danny Cipriani scoring against France

Sale flyhalf Danny Cipriani will be left out of England’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup.

The 27-year-old impressed off the bench in the defeat by France last weekend, but has not done enough to be included in Stuart Lancaster’s final party.

Owen Farrell and George Ford are set to be named as the 2 flyhalves, with Mike Brown and Alex Goode as the fullbacks, leaving no place for Cipriani.

The squad will be confirmed on Thursday at 14:45 SA Time (13:45 BST, 12:45 GMT).

The tournament, held in England and Wales, gets under way on 18 September.

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Philippe Saint-Andre

Philippe Saint-Andre

Experienced flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc will miss the Rugby World Cup which gets underway in England next month.

He was surprisingly omitted from the France squad announced by coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Sunday.

The 28-year-old who played an influential role for France at the 2011 Rugby World Cup when they lost 7 / 8 to the New Zealand All Blacks in the Final – lost out to unpredictable veteran Frederic Michalak (who played in Saturday’s win over England) and Remi Tales.

Trinh-Duc, capped 50 times since being blooded by Marc Lievremont in 2008, found it difficult to impose himself under Saint-Andre and a serious injury last season ruled him out of contention for this season’s Six Nations.

He was given a chance to prove himself worthy of a spot in the 1st game against England a week ago – a 19 / 14 defeat at Twickenham – but evidently failed to convince Saint-Andre and his coaching staff.

“It is a choice which has been made – not only after 7 weeks, but also after 3 years of life with the squad,” said Saint-Andre, who also cited Trinh-Duc’s lack of accuracy at place-kicking.

For Michalak, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday during the tournament, it represents his 3rd Rugby World Cup – having 1st made an impression at international level during the 2003 edition in Australia.

Despite concerns over his fitness and form, Saint-Andre has kept faith with the 72-times capped playmaker.

In contrast to the flyhalf position Saint-Andre has selected 3 scrumhalves, in Morgan Parra (who was Lievremont’s favoured No 9 alongside Trinh-Duc for much of his reign), South African-born Rory Kockott and Michalak’s clubmate Sebastien Tillous-Borde.

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Rugby-Talk RWC 2015

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