World Cup Watch: Volume One

h 00083985

Incoming Blues coach Vern Cotter will be on World Cup duty with Romania in France.

Leon MacDonald's successor will be a consultant with the Oaks [Romania's nickname]. On Rugby Romania's social media account, Cotter said he was glad to be part of Romania's World Cup plans.

"I have been overseeing their preparation since this year's Rugby Europe Championship and will be involved as an advisor for the RWC, hoping the Oaks will evolve, play some good games and exceed everyone's expectations."

Cotter is not new to the World Cup, having coached Scotland in 2015 when they featured in a controversial quarterfinal loss to Australia.

This time, Romania are in a pool with South Africa, Ireland, Tonga and Scotland.

Argentina coach Michael Cheika has sprung a surprise in his World Cup squad, and one of those to benefit is Highlanders wing from this year Martin Bogado, who made his Test debut against South Africa at the weekend.

But it was the dropping of wings Santiago Cordero and Bautista Delguy that Cheika caused surprise.

By including Argentina sevens wing Rodrigo Isgro, other players left out were Matias Orlando, Tomas Albornoz, Lucas Paulos, Sebastian Cancelliere and Lucio Sordoni.

Cheika said his side was balanced with several versatile players.

Cheika said: "The goal is always to go for the maximum, not to settle for the quarterfinals or semifinals. We want to reach October 28 [the final] and win."

Argentina are pooled with England, Samoa, Chile and Japan.

The Springboks are sweating on a calf injury sustained by first five-eighths Handre Pollard. He is not expected to be ready to play South Africa's opening World Cup game against Scotland. He hasn't played at all for the Springboks this year, and is a 50-50 chance to be able to play their remaining warm-up games which would preclude him from consideration for their Scotland game.

However, there is better news about captain and flanker Siya Kolisi, whose knee injury underwent surgery earlier in the season. He is expected to be able to play South Africa's first warm-up game against Wales and the All Blacks on August 26. He has been able to take part in full contact sessions at Springbok training recently.

Having seen his Wales side down England 20-9 at the weekend, coach Warren Gatland summed up England's loss when saying, 'Too fit for them'.

"I thought the last 20 minutes we just looked comfortable. I felt that some of the England forwards were blowing a bit just before halftime, so we wanted a little more line speed."

The Western Mail said Gatland was keen for people to continue writing off Wales.

"Continue to do it, because it's only going to make us stronger."

The sides meet again this weekend at Twickenham, but New Zealander Gareth Anscombe is unlikely to play as he is still recovering from injury.


View all