Ireland 15 for Romania game named, minnows catching up and England v Wales meet on Saturday in heavyweight clash are the top stories in Friday’s Rugby World Cup Update
Starting IV for Ireland’s second pool game named
Joe Schmidt has made 12 changes to the starting lineup for Ireland’s second Pool D game against Romania. Simon Zebo starts at full back while Tommy Bowe and Darren Cave also get a chance to shine for the first time in this World Cup. Eoin Reddan and Ian Madigan start at half back while Chris Henry, Jordi Murphy, Donnacha Ryan, Devin Toner, Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss and Nathan White also start. Team and replacements are as follows: Simon Zebo, Tommy Bowe, Jared Payne, Darren Cave, Keith Earls, Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan, Jamie Heaslip capt., Chris Henry, Jordi Murphy, Devin Toner, Donnacha Ryan, Nathan White, Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy; Subs: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Tadhg Furlong, Paul O’Connell, Sean O’Brien, Conor Murray, Paddy Jackson, Rob Kearney.
Minnows heroics show that rugby as a world game has a future
There would have been a time in recent rugby world cup’s where supporters would only turn up for the knockout stages as the top teams would annihilate the minnows in the blink of an eye. As the 2015 tournament unfolds, it looks as if the previous huge gap is closing. Yes, Japan beating South Africa is the headline grabber but the performances of Namibia against New Zealand and Romania against France show that rugby can have a global future. There is a lot of work to do with the second tier countries, but green shoots of progress are there for all to see.
Battle lines drawn as England and Wales finally meet
England take on Wales on Saturday knowing that a defeat puts Stuart Lancaster’s side will be under huge pressure to qualify from Pool A. The England head coach has turned to Sam Burgess and Owen Farrell in midfield for this game and if this gamble doesn’t pay off, the knives are sharpening. Wales’ biggest selection call sees Hallem Amos come in on the left wing for Alex Cuthbert. With Australia waiting in the wings, both sides will have to see this as a must win game.
Wales’ Webb out for up to eight months
Scrum half Rhys Webb has been dealt a huge blow with the news that he is likely to miss most of the season after undergoing foot surgery. Webb was injured in a World Cup warmup game against Italy and will now miss the Six Nations and is also a doubt for Wales’ summer tour to New Zealand. His club, Ospreys, have confirmed that his foot will be non-weight bearing for six weeks and will then wear a protective boot for a further four to six weeks.
FRIDAY RUGBY WORLD CUP FIXTURE
4.45pm: Pool C - Argentina v Tonga