The following is a roundup of stories from the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Lewis Moody will captain England against Georgia in their Sept. 18 Pool B match after recovering from a knee ligament injury. The inclusion of Moody at openside flanker in place of James Haskell is one of nine changes to the starting lineup from England’s tournament opener against Argentina.
Tom Wood will make his World Cup debut on the blind side as Tom Croft drops to the bench. No. 8 Nick Easter and tighthead prop Dan Cole are the only forwards to keep their spots.
Ben Youngs and Toby Flood will start as the half-back pairing, while Shontayne Hape takes over from Mike Tindall at inside center. The back three of Ben Foden, Delon Armitage and Chris Ashton is unchanged.
ENGLAND: Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Shontayne Hape, Delon Armitage, Toby Flood, Ben Youngs, Nick Easter, Lewis Moody (captain), Tom Wood, Tom Palmer, Simon Shaw, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley, Matt Stevens
Replacements: Steve Thompson, Alex Corbisiero, Tom Croft, James Haskell, Joe Simpson, Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Banahan.
Not So Clever
U.S. captain Todd Clever was cited for foul play following his team’s 13-6 victory over Russia yesterday, tournament organizers said.
Clever, 28, was cited for a dangerous tackle/charge in the Pool C match in New Plymouth and now faces a judicial hearing in Auckland. The hearing, not yet scheduled, will be conducted by independent judicial officer Jeff Blackett of England.
Wales became the first nation to pick an unchanged team at the tournament for its Pool D game against Samoa in two days. Coach Warren Gatland retained the 15 players who began the 17-16 loss to defending champion South Africa on Sept. 11.
In the only change to the 22-man squad, prop Gethin Jenkins replaces Ryan Bevington on the reserves’ bench. It’s the first time in World Cup history that Wales hasn’t changed its starting lineup, tournament organizers said.
“It’s a message of confidence in terms of the way we performed last week,” Gatland said at a news conference.
Samoa’s Single Change
Samoa made one change to the team that opened with a 49-12 win over Namibia for the match against the Welsh in Wellington. Ofisa Treviranus comes in at blindside flanker to replace Taiasina Tuifua, who drops to the bench.
Locks’ Bad Luck
South Africa’s second-row options were further depleted when replacement lock Johann Muller was ruled out of tomorrow’s Pool D match against Fiji because of a hamstring injury.
Francois Louw takes Muller’s place on the bench, while back-rower Willem Alberts will now provide cover should starting locks Danie Rossouw or Bakkies Botha get injured, the South African Rugby Union said. Vice-captain Victor Matfield had already been ruled out because of a hamstring strain.
“I don’t know whether there’s something in the water or what’s happening,” Muller said in comments distributed by tournament organizers. “I think it’s just some bad luck we’re having at this stage.”