Rugby World Cup

RWC2023: rugby league heroes are inspiring Manu Samoa

While the Manus had reached two quarter-finals at previous Rugby World Cups - in 1991 and 1995 - their rugby league counterparts took the world by storm last year when they reached the final of last year's Rugby League World Cup.

They became the first Pacific team to achieve that feat.

Former Manu star centre Seilala Mapusua, now head coach of the side, has been in France with his warriors for the last month.

Not far from their mind is the achievement that Samoans all over the world celebrated last year when Toa Samoa made history.

Rankings peak 'changes nothing' for Raiwalui's Fiji at Rugby World Cup

After last weekend's first win over England the Pacific islanders moved up to seventh, as they prepare to start their tournament against Wales on September 10.

"It changes nothing for us," Raiwalui told reporters.

"We haven't thought about the rankings. 

"We've been taking it one game at a time. Since the preparation started we had a goal of improving every week. 

"The objective and goal doesn't change," he added.

Former Fiji lock Raiwalui, 48, took over from Vern Cotter as head coach in February after the New Zealander resigned.

Manu Samoa's tight loss 'bodes extremely well' for World Cup upset

Samoa won two out of their three Tests in the Pacific Nations Cup, falling only to Fiji while toppling Japan and thumping Tonga.

Following the tournament, they have been boosted by a debut to former All Black Lima Sopoaga whose game management and experience guided the team around the park in last weekend’s tight encounter in Bayonne.

While it wasn’t Andy Farrell’s first-choice team, Samoa’s ability to challenge the Irish outfit in the contact and around the field will have again put their Pool D competition on notice.

Samoa's Andrew Goodman backs Ireland to 'go really deep' in World Cup

New Zealander Goodman watched from the sidelines on Saturday evening in Bayonne as Ireland stretched their winning run to 13 matches with a narrow 17-13 success over Samoa.

The 40-year-old former Leinster player, who has been working with the Pacific island nation since 2021, has connections with many of Ireland's squad having returned to the Dublin-based province last year to assist Leo Cullen.

Duncan Paia’aua is one of the Manu Samoa players to watch at the Rugby World Cup

He scored Samoa’s only try against Ireland in 36 minutes, showing their potential as a threat in the World Cup.

Despite the 17-13 loss, the Samoans proved to be tough encounter for the Irish lads.

He was also among the tryscorers in Samoa’s 34-9 win against Tonga 34-9 in the final round of Pacific Nations Cup, earlier this month.

The 28-year-old has proved his worth in the side to be named in starting-line up for all rugby world cup warm up games after making his international debut for Samoa against Italy in the 2022 end of year internationals.

Prep time key for Flying Fijians

Fiji has lost only one Test out of five since the new coaching team led by Simon Raiwalui took over the reins from Vern Cotter six months ago.

Raiwalui said compared to before where they sometimes just get together a week before a game, this squad is well ahead in terms of preparation.

The former national captain added that this is going to be one of most competitive World Cup following the recent success of tier two nations.

Scott Barrett free to play All Blacks World Cup opener

Barrett was sent off after being shown a second yellow card for a dangerous clean out on Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx in the first half of New Zealand's record 35-7 defeat at Twickenham.

He had only just returned to the field after being sent to the sin bin for a foul at the breakdown, when New Zealand were on a team warning for repeated infringements.

The independent Disciplinary Committee was chaired by Sir James Dingemans (England), joined by former international player Olly Kohn (Wales) and former referee Valeriu Toma (Romania).

Samoans rattle Ireland as Fiji climbs to 7th after famous win

The Samoans lost a tough clash against world number one Ireland 17-13 in Bayonne early Sunday morning, after leading 10-7 at half-time.

And the Flying Fijians have climbed to seventh spot on the world rugby ranking after their first-ever win over England.

They have jumped ahead of England, Australia and Wales, heading into the world meet with their best-ever ranking. Samoa remain in 12th place.

Samoans close to causing a shock

Manu Samoa had their chances to cause a big upset against Ireland in the later stages of the game.

Supercharged Samoa ready for 2023 Rugby World Cup

British rugby writer Brendan Gallagher said in The Rugby Paper that Samoa was one of the Pacific Island nations that would benefit from players 'giving back' to the island of their heritage. And it was for 'love and dedication' because the islands did not have a lot of money to attract the players.

"The new ruling has already galvanised Samoan rugby in particular, and that seems fair enough because the mighty Samoan rugby culture has been bolstering the arsenals of many other nations around the world for decades.

Japan Rugby World Cup squad 2023 – Jamie Joseph names 30 players

After their landmark 34-32 win against South Africa in 2015, the Brave Blossoms went on to produce even more incredible victories on home soil by beating Ireland and Scotland in 2019. They went through to the knockouts for the first time in their history.

This time out they face 2019 finalists England, and a feisty Argentina in their pool. Will they be able to produce more thrilling performances?

Coach Jamie Joseph – who is leaving Japan to return to the Highlanders next season – has named an initial 30-man squad ahead of the official 33-man squad deadline of 28 August.