Rugby World Cup

Fiji's World Cup preparations dealt a blow as coach cut from staff

Peter Ryan, who has been looking after the Fijian defence, has taken to social media to announce that his role has ended with the national team due to the country’s World Cup budget having been spent.

Fiji held a camp in France earlier this year as part of their preparations and are expected to be a serious threat to pool opponents Wales and Australia at the tournament as they will be able to assemble their first-choice squad, including key players who are operating in Europe.

Flying Fijians to begin World Cup prep against Māori All Blacks

The ninth-ranked Fijians, who stunned France in Paris six months ago, will host the Māori in Suva on July 13 with the return match in Rotorua a week later.

Fiji Rugby chief executive John O'Connor was delighted to secure two competitive mid-year games, which he said isn't always easy to achieve for the Pacific nations.

"It is indeed a timely boost for the Flying Fijians as we will prepare for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later in the year," he said.

Quade Cooper 'wrecked' by Super Rugby return

 But the controversial first-five still harbours a strong desire to get back into the Wallabies in a World Cup year and confirmed he has been in further contact with the national team's management.

Cooper was sidelined from the competition last year when he was frozen out by Queensland coach Brad Thorn, but the 31-year-old has played more Super Rugby minutes than any of his Rebels teammates, who he joined for 2019.

Set to face the Reds in Melbourne on Friday night, Cooper said he really needed their bye two weeks ago.

Rugby World Cup officials warn hosts Japan not to run out of beer

There are genuine fears that bars and restaurants in host cities could run dry, according to Jiji Press.

Concerns were raised at briefings in Sapporo, Hokkaido and Oita which could host the bulk of the expected 400,000 fans to the tournament that runs from September to November.

Running out of beer would mean the loss of "lucrative business opportunities" and could also trigger bad publicity on social media, according to the local report.

Wallabies want to wear Indigenous jersey at the Rugby World Cup

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika revealed RA had applied for Australia to wear the hugely popular jersey in two games in Japan in September and October this year.

Test veteran Kurtley Beale, an Indigenous Australian, said last year it could be a powerful weapon for the Wallabies at a World Cup.

"It would be nice to wear it at the World Cup one day.

"Maybe that's something we could talk about in the future.

"You have two playing strips in the World Cup.

Israel Folau's comments rule him out of Rugby World Cup, says Wallabies coach Michael Cheika

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says Israel Folau's "disrespectful" comments would currently make it impossible to pick the superstar for Australia at this year's Rugby World Cup.

Folau remains stood down by Rugby Australia over his latest social media tirade, which proclaimed homosexuals, drunks and atheists would go to hell unless they repented.

"Getting out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team's about," Cheika said on Monday.

Door still open for Ma'a Nonu to make All Blacks' World Cup squad: Steve Hansen

Nonu was not invited to be part of the 41-man group which assembled in Wellington on Monday, but was offered a ray of hope when head coach Steve Hansen said the veteran midfielder would "be considered like anybody else".

Hansen said the selectors had decided to invite only players involved in the All Blacks' 2018 campaign.

"There are some guys who aren't here that, if you were picking it on form, probably would be here, but the rules are the rules and we are all playing by them."

Ireland hit with World Cup injury blow

Leavy suffered the injury during Leinster's 21-18 Champions Cup quarter-final victory over Ulster on Saturday after coming off the bench in the second half.

"Leinster Rugby can confirm that Dan Leavy had an initial scan yesterday on a complex knee ligament injury but needs further assessment this week," the club said in a statement.

"He has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and into next season to include the Rugby World Cup."

Leavy, 24, won the last of his 11 caps against Argentina in November after missing last year's Six Nations with a calf injury.

France to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) board last month unanimously recommended South Africa to host the tournament in six years' time.

Yet World Rugby Council members on Wednesday voted in favour of the France bid, despite South Africa being picked out as a "clear leader" a couple of weeks before decision day.

France presented the tournament solo for the first time in 2007, having played joint-host in 1991 with the UK and Ireland, and they will also stage the 10th edition of the tournament.

Kata flags Kiwis to turn out for Tonga at World Cup

Kata, who played five tests for the Kiwis last year, has declared his allegiance to Tonga for the tournament.

That wouldn't have been possible under the old international eligibility rules - which allowed just one change per four-year cycle - but the revised rules make it possible.

Kata said it was a relatively simple decision.

"I want to play for Tonga - I just know that is what I want to do," Kata told the Herald on Sunday.