Rugby World Cup

Owen Farrell works on tackling technique as World Rugby cracks down on dangerous play

Farrell was guilty of reckless no-arms challenges against South Africa and Australia last autumn – escaping punishment for both – to raise concerns over his risky style of halting opponents.

World Rugby are determined to rid the game of contact to the head and in May issued a directive clarifying the process for officiating high tackles and shoulder charges, including the wider use of cards.

While England head coach Eddie Jones is concerned that games risk being “destroyed” by a poor decision from officials, he has also seen the value in refining Farrell’s approach.

Wales train with 'wet balls and baby oil' ahead of World Cup opener

Head coach Warren Gatland believes that humidity is going to be a factor during the tournament in Japan.

England boss Eddie Jones feels his side are fully equipped to cope with such a scenario, and Wales have also left no stone unturned.

Day-time temperatures at Wales’ current base in the southern Japanese city of Kitakyushu are 30 degrees-plus, with 75 percent humidity, and similar weather is expected elsewhere during the 44-day competition.

Flying Fijians settling in well ahead of Wallabies opener in Japan

The Flying Fijians arrived in Abashiri City over the weekend and got their final intense fitness training session in on Saturday ahead of a rest day on Sunday.

"We really went really hard and intensively one of our last really big physical days before the test match," John McKee said.

Mckee said he was pleased with their preparations for the tournament so far and this final week is all about the Wallabies.

"Just working through our clarity and making sure the players really know our gameplan inside-out," he said.

Seven Tongan players ready to represent Japan in RWC 2019

The hosts have named Asaeli Valu,  Uve Helu, Amanaki Lelei Mafi,  William Tupou,  Ataata Moeakiola, Lemeki Romano and Nakajima Isileli.

Mafi received minor injuries in their warm up match against South Africa but was given the green light for the RWC.

The powerful No.8 and and flying wing Kenki Fukuoka were both forced from the field, leaving head coach Joseph with some headaches ahead of his side's Pool A opener against Russia in Tokyo on Sept. 20.

No room for David Pocock and Michael Hooper in Australian lineup says Wallabies legend

The veteran loose forward returned from a calf injury to play his first test of the year in Australia’s final pre-World Cup hit out against Samoa in Sydney last weekend, an encouraging sign as Pocock embarks on a third World Cup campaign.

He also led the side in place of fellow openside flanker Michael Hooper, who was rested.

Manu Tuilagi on why ethnic diversity can help fuel England's World Cup glory bid

Samoan-born Tuilagi is among a number of players with overseas heritage who are looking to repeat the heroics of Martin Johnson’s 2003 Webb Ellis Trophy winners by sweeping all before them in Japan.

Also represented to varying degrees are Fiji, Tonga, Nigeria and the United States, while Lewis Ludlam’s background is a mix of Guyanese, Palestinian and Egyptian. “I definitely think it helps. There’s a lot of different backgrounds in the team,” Tuilagi said.

From Starbucks barista to World Cup bolter

The World Cup bolter profited from Ben Te’o’s shock exclusion from Eddie Jones’ squad for Japan 2019 to claim one of the four centre spots, his ability to cover all three midfield positions adding to his value.

But prior to this summer’s series of warm-up matches, the little-heralded 29-year-old had won only four caps and three of those came as a replacement.

As a teenager he was cut from the Saracens academy, galvanising him to travel to New Zealand in the hope that the most thorough rugby education possible would realise his ambition of becoming a professional.

'We go into this Rugby World Cup as the best prepared Flying Fijian team ever'

Twice before have Fiji progressed to the knockout rounds of rugby’s showpiece event, first in the inaugural tournament in 1987, before again making the quarter-finals in the 2007 edition. There were no such celebrations four years ago in England, however, as John McKee’s side picked up just one win and finished fourth in their pool, a pool that is not too different to the one they face in Japan over the next month.

Nakarawa not bothered about Wallabies adopted Fijians

The Fijian born quartet of Isi Naisarani, Samu Kerevi. Marika Koroibete and Tevita Kuridrani are  likely to be in the Wallabies team against Fiji a the Sapporo Dome on September 21 and Nakarawa recognises it could be an unwanted distraction.

However, the Racing 92 lock who won a  Sevens gold medal at the Rio Olympics, told the FijiSun: “Other Fijians play for other countries for their own personal reasons. We don’t want to think or are bothered about them. We want to focus on what we can do and tasked to achieve at the World Cup.

Wales star's World Cup in doubt as he awaits concussion check

The Scarlets number 10 suffered a third concussion in 12 months during Wales’ 19-10 defeat against Ireland in Dublin.

He went off midway through the first half following an attempted tackle on Ireland back-row forward CJ Stander.

It was Patchell’s first Test start since June last year when he starred with a 20-point haul against Argentina in Santa Fe.

He is one of two fly-halves in Wales head coach Warren Gatland’s 31-man squad for Japan, having edged out Jarrod Evans to secure a place alongside Dan Biggar.