RWC 2019 | Loop Vanuatu
 

RWC 2019

Erasmus among coaching exits

Rassie Erasmus worked wonders in a short space of time to transform the Springboks from failures into the best side in the world after taking over as head coach last March.

He has now relinquished the role to concentrate solely on his position as director of rugby, having juggled both jobs, and he will be a tough act to follow.

Steve Hansen's glorious New Zealand reign also came to an end in Japan, while Warren Gatland's long Wales tenure is over and Ireland will start life without Joe Schmidt following their quarter-final exit.

Kolisi hails impact of win

The Springboks overpowered England in Yokohama to secure a 32-12 triumph, second-half tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe sealing an emphatic win after six Handre Pollard penalties.

As a result, 24 years after Francois Pienaar accepted the Webb Ellis Cup from Nelson Mandela in one of sport's most iconic moments, there was another inspirational scene as Kolisi - South Africa's first black captain - lifted the same trophy.

In a stirring post-match interview, Kolisi said he hoped South Africa's success could inspire people throughout the nation.

Vunipola taking tips from auntie

England meet South Africa in the final in Yokohama this weekend after producing a stunning display to beat reigning champions New Zealand 19-7.

Eddie Jones' side are favourites to prevail in a match against opponents who narrowly edged out Wales in their semi-final, favouring a kicking game that is in stark contrast to England's free-flowing style.

Vunipola has been a key part of that approach but, despite being on the brink of glory in Japan, he is still getting tips from the family who have travelled to support him and his brother, Mako.

Foster says set-piece the key in semi-final 'war'

The All Blacks and Eddie Jones' side do battle at International Stadium Yokohama for the right to play South Africa or Wales in the final.

Steve Hansen sprung a surprise by picking Scott Barrett ahead of Sam Cane at blindside flanker in what would appear to be an effort to target the England lineout.

New Zealand assistant coach Foster said the team that gain the edge in lineouts and scrums will have a great chance of progressing.

Sliding into the weekend like...

Williams out of Rugby World Cup

Wales face South Africa in Yokohama on Sunday looking to reach the World Cup final for the first time.

Davies is back in Gatland's XV after missing the narrow last-eight victory over France with a recurrence of an earlier knee injury.

However, Williams is out of this clash and the remainder of the tournament due to a training-ground injury.

Wales reported Williams had suffered the blow to his ankle in an accidental collision and a prognosis was still to be established.

Cheika wants an Aussie to be his Wallabies successor

Australia were dumped out of the Rugby World Cup in a 40-16 quarter-final defeat to England on Saturday.

Cheika brought his five-year stint in charge, which included a run to the World Cup final in 2015, to an end after the defeat.

New Zealand coaches Jamie Joseph and Dave Rennie have been linked with the post but, when touching down after flying back from Japan, Cheika told reporters Rugby Australia should look at home for their next appointment.

"I think definitely we should be pushing for an Australian coach," he said. 

Eddie Jones fires the verbal barbs

The fiery Australian has taken aim at the world champions and the New Zealand media, and even thrown out some conspiracy theories worthy of a James Bond film.

England coach Eddie Jones rarely misses an opportunity to stir up the opposition and he's adamant all the pressure is all on the All Blacks.

"No one thinks we can win, there's no pressure on us, we're going to relax and have a great week," he told a news conference.

Read fit for England – Hansen

Influential skipper Read was absent from the All Blacks' training session on Tuesday to spark fears over his availability for the mouth-watering showdown in Yokohama.

However, Hansen says Read was nursing a sore calf that New Zealand did not want to exacerbate in wet conditions.

"There is no issue. You didn't see him train because he was in the gym on the bike," Hansen said. 

"He got a tight calf from the game the other day and we didn't want to put him out on a wet track."

Pressed on if Read will face England, Hansen replied: "Yeah, 100 per cent."

Horwill fancies Australia's chances

The Wallabies have lost six consecutive games against England since knocking them out of the previous World Cup at Twickenham four years ago.

Eddie Jones' side are firm favourites to continue that sequence at Oita Stadium on Saturday and set up a semi-final against two-time defending champions New Zealand or Ireland. 

Yet former Australia captain Horwill thinks Michael Cheika's men can defy the odds and lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time.

Japan team inspired by 'Mr Rugby' Hirao

Former Japan captain and head coach Hirao – nicknamed "Mr Rugby" in his homeland – died three years ago this Sunday aged 53 after a battle with cancer.

Full-back Ryohei Yamanaka played under Hirao, who represented the Brave Blossoms at the 1987, 1991 and 1995 World Cup, at Kobe Steelers.

"[The quarter-final] is the date he passed away, so there'll be a game on an important day for me as well," he said.

Japan's scrum coach Shin Hasegawa was handed his international breakthough by Hirao during his playing days.