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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

World Cup Bulletin: Midfield Role For Contepomi

World Cup Bulletin: Midfield Role For Contepomi

…France And Argentina Name Teams For Opener…’Spreaders’ To Use Historic Coin And Whistle…Bordeaux’s Rugby Village…World Cup Helping To “Tackle Hunger”…Up And Unders…

FRANCE AND ARGENTINA NAME TEAMS FOR OPENER: Both France and Argentina have confirmed their starting line-ups and replacements for Friday’s opening match of the 2007 World Cup.

And in a surprise twist, Stade Francais club-mates David Skrela and Juan Martin Hernandez are set to take each other on in an intriguing battle of the number 10s.

French coach Bernard Laporte has set out his stall by naming a full-strength side for the Stade de France clash. There is interesting switch at full-back as noted winger Cedric Heymans has been handed the number 15 jersey, with his Toulouse colleague Clement Poitrenaud excluded from the matchday 22.

Two more Toulouse players – Frederic Michalak and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde – have to be content with bench spots as Skrela and the exciting Pierre Mignoni have been paired together at half-back.

Remy Martin and Imanol Harinordoquy join Serge Betsen in a strong-looking back row, while with a total of five forwards amongst their replacements, Laporte and his management team are clearly expecting a war of attrition up front.

Argentina have surprisingly left Federico Todeschini, one of the best place kickers in the world, on the bench for the Pool D opener. Todeschini’s place at out-half has gone to regular full-back Juan Martin Hernandez.

Pumas coach Marcelo Loffreda has rejigged his back-line with with Leinster star Felipe Contepomi moving to inside centre, where he will partner his twin brother Manuel.

Juan Martin Scelzo, Juan Manuel Leguizamon and Ignacio Corleto have all overcome minor knocks to start, but regular number eight Gonzalo Longo is out with a leg injury, so Lucas Ostiglia will help to anchor the Argentinian scrum.

France: Cedric Heymans; Aurelien Rougerie, Damien Traille, Yannick Jauzion, Christophe Dominici; David Skrela, Pierre Mignoni; Olivier Milloud, Raphael Ibanez (capt), Pieter De Villiers, Fabien Pelous, Jerome Thion, Serge Betsen, Remy Martin, Imanol Harinordoquy.

Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Sebastien Chabal, Julien Bonnaire, Thierry Dusautoir, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, Frederic Michalak.

Argentina: Ignacio Corleto; Lucas Borges, Manuel Contepomi, Felipe Contepomi, Horacio Agulla; Juan Martín Hernandez, Agustín Pichot (cap); Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma, Martin Scelzo, Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Patricio Albacete, Juan Fernandez Lobbe, Lucas Ostiglia, Juan Manuel Leguizamon.

Replacements: Alberto Vernet Basualdo, Santiago Gonzalez Bonorino, Rimas Alvarez, Martin Durand, Nicolas Fernandez Miranda, Federico Todeschini, Hernan Senillosa.

‘SPREADERS’ TO USE HISTORIC COIN AND WHISTLE: English referee Tony Spreadbury will keep up a 20-year-old tradition when he starts proceedings for Friday’s World Cup curtain raiser between France and Argentina.

‘Spreaders’ will use a special whistle and coin, two pieces of New Zealand and World Cup rugby history, to start the much-anticipated fixture – the former Bath native will become the sixth referee to use the whistle and coin to begin international rugby’s showpiece tournament.

Both items have been lent by the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North. Their use continues a tradition started at the first World Cup in New Zealand in 1987 by Australian referee Bob Fordham.

The other referees to have used the coin and whistle have been Jim Fleming (Scotland, 1991), Derek Bevan (Wales, 1995), Paddy O’Brien (New Zealand, 1999) and Paul Honiss (New Zealand, 2003).

The whistle was originally used by Welsh referee Gil Evans in games involving the 1905 All Blacks. It was subsequently used by another Welsh referee Albert Freethy for the rugby final at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris.

The coin was first used for the All Blacks’ tour match against England during the 1924/25 season. A New Zealand supporter Hector Gray lent Freethy a florin for the toss, as neither captain had a coin. Enthused by the role his coin played, Gray later had it embossed with a rose on one side and a fern on the other.

BORDEAUX’S RUGBY VILLAGE: The French city of Bordeaux, the Ireland squad’s base for the World Cup’s pool stages, is bracing itself for not only a massive influx of Irish fans but also the start of its own ‘Rugby Village.’

The ‘Rugby Village’, which will be open from September 7 to 30, will allow fans to watch all the matches on a 20m²+ big screen in a festive and friendly atmosphere.

Dubbed “a playground for 10,000 people”, the Rugby Village will be located near the city centre of Bordeaux on the Quai des Chartrons (parallel to Cours de la Martinique). This location has a number of advantages – an exceptional view of the river, the recently renovated and rehabilitated quayside, and car parking and a tram stop nearby.

For more information on the Rugby Village and Bordeaux’s part in the World Cup, please visit http://www.bordeauxrugby2007.com/.

WORLD CUP HELPING TO “TACKLE HUNGER“: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed the dedication of the 2007 Rugby World Cup to “Tackle Hunger” – a campaign which aims to raise public awareness about the 850 million people around the world who know what it is like to go hungry.

WFP’s humanitarian partner, the International Rugby Board (IRB), announced earlier this week in Paris the dedication of the tournament to “Tackle Hunger“.

“The huge numbers of people attending matches and watching rugby on television over the next few weeks make the Rugby World Cup an incredibly powerful platform for informing a broad audience about global hunger,” said John M. Powell, deputy executive director of the World Food Programme.

Tackle Hunger

“The World Food Programme has been the humanitarian partner of the IRB for four years and together we have developed the Tackle Hunger programme that assists WFP to communicate the important work it does for the global community,” said Dr. Syd Millar, the chairman of the IRB.

“Rugby is proud of its traditions and sense of fair play and it is fitting that we should support such a worthy cause.”

France coach Bernard Laporte will be playing a key role in promoting ‘Tackle Hunger’ during the World Cup in France. Laporte is featuring in a series of television and print advertisements conceived to raise awareness about global hunger.

These are appearing for the duration of the tournament on French and international television channels, and will also be placed in newspapers and magazines.

The “Tackle Hunger” partnership was launched at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, where it was supported by former World Wup winning captains, including Nick Farr-Jones and John Eales from Australia, and David Kirk from New Zealand.

UP AND UNDERS: ….French Prime Minister Francois Fillon will not be watching World Cup matches with his wife Penelope, who hails from Wales. “It’s impossible. We will certainly not watch the World Cup together. Each of us will be in a different room!”, he joked…

…He has all but erased it from his memory banks, but recalling Ireland’s two-match defeat by Namibia in the summer of 1991, former Ulster and Ireland winger Keith Crossan said: “Namibia were a better side than we had expected. They had a lot of players who had played in South Africa and they were in great physical condition.

“In better nick than we were. I remember their winger leaving me for dead a couple of times which was embarrassing to say the least. It is easy to put it down to the conditions and the food poisoning but we didn’t play well,” he admitted…

…Asked by the Daily Telegraph to select his top 50 players, former England centre and captain Will Carling included five Ireland-capped players in his half century of greats.

Fergus Slattery (number 42), Keith Wood (30), Willie John McBride (19) and Mike Gibson (13) all made the line-up, while Brian O’Driscoll was ranked tenth best by Carling.

Carling said of the current Ireland captain: “He has the ability to prise open defences that other players cannot even contemplate. With his poise, his change of speed and his closeness to the ground it is very hard to stop him. Ireland are half the side without him.”

For the record, Carling’s top five were (5) Serge Blanco (France), (4) Jonah Lomu (New Zealand), (3) David Campese (Australia), (2) Michael Jones (New Zealand) and (1) Gareth Edwards (Wales)…

…Nice to know Ireland do not play boring rugby, according to fans from both Hemispheres. The Australian-based RugbyHeaven website (www.rugbyheaven.com) is currently running a poll to find out: ‘Which team plays the most boring rugby?’

Out of the nine options, Ireland are second last in terms of boring play with 1%. Only World Cup hosts France have a better rating on the boring scale at 0%. Somewhat unsurprisingly given the website’s origin and Jeremy Guscott’s comments that he finds the Wallabies boring to watch, England are well out in front with 67% of the vote…