Rugby World Cup

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.

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.

Pacific Island Players Association speaks out over World Rugby's 'unfair' treatment of Samoa

The union doesn't know when its final World Cup qualifier will be, who it'll be against, or whether it'll be able to call on its top players, all because of a corruption and eligibility scandal in the European group.

Somehow a scuffle between Spain, Belgium and a Romanian referee has created a headache for Samoa.

Their World Cup qualifying pathway is now uncertain and, after a month, there's been anger that World Rugby hasn't fixed the issue at hand.

The problem revolves around European qualifying, at the heart of it – Romania.