Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup 2019: Major blow for Wales as injury rules out Taulupe Faletau

Faletau played all three tests for the British and Irish Lions in the drawn series with the All Blacks in 2017, but the 28-year-old has struggled with injuries since.

His last test for Wales was during the 2018 Six Nations. He then missed last year's November tests with a broken arm and he fractured it again in January, ruling him out of the Six Nations which Wales went on to win, achieving a grand slam in Warren Gatland's final season as coach ahead of the World Cup starting in Japan in September.

Rugby World Cup countdown: 50 days to go

Over 400,000 fans from around the world are expected to descend on Japan during the tournament, beginning in late September and going through to mid November.

It is the first World Cup to be held outside of rugby's traditional heartlands.

Ever since the venue of the final was changed in 2015 after the scrapping of a proposed new national stadium, planning for the World Cup has been mostly smooth.

World Cup venues - Kamaishi, Osaka and Kumagaya - are hosting Japan warm-up matches, which should give organisers a chance to fine-tune their final preparations.

Sonny Bill Williams blasts critics saying he's under pressure to make Rugby World Cup

The midfielder rarely uses Twitter to respond to media stories about him, but Williams was clearly fired up, saying those who say he's under pressure need to 'get their priorities right.'

Williams wrote that playing sport for a living can't be compared to those who are struggling to deal with far bigger problems.

"And for those that say I'm under pressure playing a game that I enjoy," Williams wrote. 

"Get your priorities right. Look at what's going on in the world.

Samoa's Joe Tekori in shock retirement just months before World Cup

The 35-year-old lock/back row would almost certainly have been named in Samoa’s final World Cup squad if available, having helped the Pacific Islanders to qualify by beating Germany in a two-legged play-off last year.

But Tekori didn’t feature for Samoa in last year’s November Tests – instead playing for Toulouse in the Top 14 – and has now confirmed that he will not play at his fourth World Cup, having decided to retire from Test rugby.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Wallabies want more money than the All Blacks for winning title

 

As negotiations on the four-yearly bonus structure reach the 11th hour, The Sun-Herald understands the players are proposing they be rewarded for winning a quarter-final and a semi-final, with an extra cherry on top for bringing home the Webb Ellis Cup.

While neither the Rugby Union Players' Association nor Rugby Australia would comment on precise figures, it is understood RUPA's total proposed per-player bonus, excluding match payments, would see them pocket up to $200,000 - more than the All Blacks - for winning the World Cup.

Dylan Hartley set miss out on Rugby World Cup for England

The injured hooker was one of the high-profile names missing when England coach Eddie Jones announced a squad of 29 players to attend a training camp next week. Also absent was former England captain Chris Robshaw and No 8 Nathan Hughes.

The group did not include players who featured in the English Premiership semifinals or final – champion Saracens, Exeter, Gloucester or Northampton – because of the mandatory five-week rest period. These players will be added in later enlarged squads, with a final 31-man Rugby World Cup party to be named on July 4.

Samoa, Tonga to lose key players for World Cup

The start of the next Top 14 season is set to coincide with the duration of the World Cup, which starts on 20 September with the final set to be held on 2 November.

World Rugby’s regulation nine states that clubs have to release their players to their respective nations for official Test matches, which includes the World Cup.

However, Samoa coach Steve Jackson has reportedly already had a number of his players tell him that they have had to make themselves unavailable for the showpiece tournament.

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.