2015 Rugby World Cup

When the thunder starts, you have to be ready for it, says Cheika

Michael Cheika apparently did not have much of a sidestep when he was a straightforward, bruising number eight in his playing days but Australia’s coach has developed a pretty nifty one behind the coach’s microphone.

With the hype before the Wallabies' match with England on Saturday set to reach stratospheric levels, Cheika demonstrated on Tuesday a light diplomatic touch which enabled him to dance round the verbal hand grenades being chucked his way at a news conference.

Italy regain one captain but are likely to lose another

Parisse was a very welcome arrival at Italy’s hotel on Tuesday, when after a wait of over two weeks the team's Illustrious long-time captain finally joined up with Jacques Brunel’s squad. 

While Italy played France and Canada, the 32-year-old number eight was back home in Paris recuperating and then training under the auspices of his club side, Stade Francais, following surgery earlier in September. On Monday he was finally given the all-clear to join up with the Azzurri, and less than 24 hours later he jumped on Eurostar to whizz to London. 

Canada ring changes and aim for top marks against France

Coach Kieran Crowley admitted that recovering from Saturday’s defeat against Italy and looking ahead to Thursday's clash against Les Bleus has been tough on his squad, but he hopes a school excursion after training has helped clear his players’ heads.

"That’s the biggest challenge when you have short turnarounds, the mental side of it," Crowley said at the team’s Leicester headquarters.

Tonga: We can still pin down top-three spot in Pool C

Having been beaten by Georgia in their opening match, the Ikale Tahi – Sea Eagles – had 10 days to lick their wounds before overcoming a spirited Namibia (above) at Sandy Park, Exeter, on Tuesday.

Head coach Mana Otai said they had had three performance goals heading into the game – to win, to take maximum points... and a third which he refused to reveal. Having scored five tries to take five points from the game, he smiled: "We’ll take the first two."

Victor Matfied welcomes England's Nick Easter to World Cup senior service

The arrival of England’s Nick Easter as a replacement for the injured Billy Vunipola on Monday means there are now 21 players aged 35 and over at the tournament, vastly outnumbering the tally of those relative babies who are still short of their 21st birthday.

Schmidt has two 35-year-olds in his squad: Paul O’Connell, competing at his fourth World Cup, and Mike Ross.

Rugby World Cup 2015: Gatland threatens to drop Wales stars

Wales stunned England 28-25 at Twickenham and would be on the brink of the last eight if they beat Fiji.

Gatland says the players had "a bit of a rocket" because training on Tuesday was "a bit lighter".

"I said 'if I see any body language or anything that's not right, I will change you'," said Gatland.

He had earlier announced a starting line-up showing three enforced changes following injuries that ended Scott Williams' and Hallam Amos's tournament involvement.

Rugby World Cup 2015: Tonga 35-21 Namibia

Telusa Veainu and Jack Ram crossed for Tonga, but Namibia's Johan Tromp pulled a try back, before Latiume Fosita's try helped Tonga into a 22-7 lead.

Ram got his second score soon after the break to secure Tonga's bonus point, although Namibia captain Jacques Burger was then forced over to keep it close.

But Veainu's second try secured Tonga's first win of this World Cup, despite a late consolation score from Burger.

Samoa expect South Africa backlash at Villa Park

The loss to Japan, the greatest upset in the history of the tournament, would ensure South Africa are fully focused for the game at Villa Park, according to Samoa coach Stephen Betham.

"We know there will be probably be a backlash, but we're going to be ready for it," he said as the Pacific Islanders began preparations for the clash. "We are going to give it everything."

Japan coach Eddie Jones aims to beat Scotland

Karne Hesketh crossed in the final minute to win the World Cup Pool B encounter in Brighton on Saturday.

The Brave Blossoms face Scotland on Wednesday in their second match.

"We have two objectives: reach the quarter-finals and be team of the tournament," said Jones.

"With that in mind we have made a successful start. We did not come here to be one-hit wonders."

Japan, who were given a guard of honour as they left their Brighton hotel in the wake of their win over the Springboks, have had just four days to prepare for Wednesday's match.

Japan beats South Africa in biggest-ever upset

Japan players and fans shed tears of joy at the end of a thrilling encounter that ebbed and flowed, but victory was fully deserved after a tenacious performance by the underdogs at the Brighton Community Stadium on Sunday morning.

South Africa had sounded a note of caution ahead of the game, but few, if any, would have predicted defeat at the hands of an opponent that had previously won only once in 24 World Cup outings.