As reported yesterday, Jake White named Schalk Burger in the 22-man South Africa squad for their match with England this weekend, even though the star flanker was facing a disciplinary hearing after being cited for a high tackle during the Samoa match. That hearing has been held and Burger has been banned for four weeks, which will keep him on the sidelines until the semi-final stage, should the Boks get that far. (Planet Rugby)
Eddie has made his feelings known about the timing of the World Cup and the perceived advantage it gives to the Souther Hemisphere teams (RTE)
More team news for the weekend:
Australia name the team to face Wales. (RWC News)
France’s XV to face Namiba is announced. Laporte has made a few changes to the side that lost the opening match to Argentina. (RWC News)
Three games today:
Tonga got the better of the USA, 25-15 in Montpellier. (RWC News)
Fiji had a close encounter with Japan in Toulouse, but came out on top 35-31. (RWC News)
Italy had to dig deep to see off Romania in Marseille 24-18. (Planet Rugby)
A few bits and bobs from some blogs:
Spailpín Fánach writes an excellent piece on the Ireland-Namibia match.
One of the shabbier aspects of the Rugby World Cup since its inception is how so much of the group stages have been about the strong crushing the weak. Namibia went into that game last night as lambs to the slaughter; instead of offering their necks, they claimed the cleaver and went for the butcher.
Mick Cleary discusses the methods employed by Bernard Laporte to motivate his French team before the opening match against Argentina. It involved Clement Poitrenaud reading out a letter from a 17-year-old WWII soldier to his mother on the eve of his execution. Cleary notes:
And they wonder why France went out and played like they did.
James at The Rugby Blog invites his readers to share their thoughts on Andy Farrell’s upcoming debut in a No 10 shirt for England, this weekend against South Africa. Commenter Stuart Peel remarks:
Maybe ITV can run a reality show where bright young hopefuls audition to be England’s fly half for the Samoa game. If it gets put out to the public vote surely they can come up with a better alternative than Farrell.
Also at the Rugby Blog, the shock news that George Gregan has been arrested! His buddy Peter Stringer had obviously managed to leg it before the Feds arrived.