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Monday 21 January 2019

Wallabies shock helps putt Scott in his place

Australia's defeat to Ireland at the rugby World Cup was bad enough for golfer Adam Scott, but his misery was compounded by having to face his New Zealander caddy Steve Williams the next day.

While the pair have kept their rugby banter to a minimum so far at the Tour Championships, Williams had obviously taken great delight in the Wallabies loss to the Irish last week.

Asked if his caddy had much to say after Australia's surprise loss, Scott replied: "No, but he had a big smile on his face that morning when I saw him."

Had the outspoken Williams been diplomatic following Australia's defeat?

"Diplomatic is not in his vocabulary," the Australian world number 10 replied with a grin, sparking widespread laughter in the interview room.

"Australia hasn't played New Zealand yet, which is quite good for us at the moment. But when that happens, it's going to be on for sure."



Lamont happy to win ugly

Scotland have struggled to produce beautiful, free-flowing rugby in their two wins at the World Cup so far but winger Sean Lamont will happily take an ugly 3-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday.

Victory in their Pool B match at Wellington Regional Stadium would see the Scots qualify for the quarter-finals with only arch-rivals England to come next week at Eden Park.

The Pumas, who embarked on a remarkable run to third place at the last World Cup in France, would be all but eliminated given they have already lost to England.

Scotland beat Romania and Georgia in earlier matches.

"I'll take a 3-0 win tomorrow if that's what it takes. I will be happy with that all the way through to the final," Lamont said.

"The boss (coach Andy Robinson) won't be quite so happy about it, but a win's a win regardless of what way it comes.

"That's what the World Cup's about. At the end of the day, you can play beautiful rugby and still lose. I'd rather play ugly rugby and win."



Manu ready for Samoa epic

A sold-out crowd of 60,000 filled with expatriate Samoans and Fijians watching their teams clash for the first time at the Rugby World Cup with the loser realistically out of quarter-final contention: it's safe to say the 45th meeting between the Pacific Islanders is also the biggest.

Eden Park will be rocking on Sunday once the challenges from each team are issued just before kickoff -- the siva tau for Samoa and cibi for Fiji -- to continue a rivalry that stretches back to a split two-test series in 1924.

"It's fantastic to have two teams going face to face in a World Cup in Auckland, of all places, and showing the cibi and hakas against each other," Fiji captain Deacon Manu said.

"It's a fantastic occasion and you can certainly tell the intent from the hakas early on that it's going to be a match to remember.

"It's going to be a typical game of Pacific Island rugby really. It's fantastic it's a sellout, so that adds extra emphasis on it. Whenever we play the Samoans or the Tongans, it's always a physical match and there's a lot of big hits. There's a lot of entertaining rugby."



Smit and Botha set for a rest

Captain John Smit will be rested for South Africa's final World Cup group match against Samoa and lock Bakkies Botha could join him on the sidelines after suffering another injury, coach Peter de Villiers said on Saturday.

The Springboks lead Pool D after victories over Wales, Fiji and Namibia and are heavy favourites to win the group at the North Harbour Stadium in Albany on Friday and set up a probable quarter-final against Tri-Nations champions Australia.

The World Cup holders could even win the pool with a loss against Samoa, depending on other results, meaning De Villiers could afford to rest some of his other first-team players and not just hooker Smit.

"The one thing I can tell you today is that Bissie (Bismark du Plessis) will start. John needs a rest," De Villiers said.

"He's like Duracell (batteries) at the moment, he just keeps on going. Not that he squeals, but I have to manage him too."

As for Botha, De Villiers added: "He's a worry at the moment. I don't think that Bakkies is where I want him to be."

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