The following is a roundup of stories from the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Australia picked back-rower Radike Samo at right wing for its final pool match against Russia on Oct. 1, making him the first player to start as a forward and a back at the same Rugby World Cup, tournament organizers said.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans retained six players from last week’s win over the U.S. Samo finished that game on the wing because of injuries to back-line players. All three hookers and scrum-halves in the 30-man roster were included in the match-day squad of 22 to face the Russians.
“We’ve had to be a bit creative but it’s never been about the number on their back,” Deans said in a team statement. “While some of them might be out of their normal positions, they won’t let us down and will enjoy the opportunity.”
Australia can move to 15 points atop Pool C by beating the Bears and scoring at least four tries. Group leader Ireland and Italy meet in the final game on Oct. 2.
AUSTRALIA: James O’Connor, Radike Samo, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Quade Cooper, Luke Burgess, Ben McCalman, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill (captain), Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper.
Replacements: Tatafu Polota Nau, Saia Fainga’a, Salesi Ma’afu, Rob Simmons, Rocky Elsom, Will Genia, Nick Phipps.
England made three changes and Scotland six for their pivotal Pool B match in Auckland on Oct. 1
Delon Armitage replaces Mark Cueto on England’s left wing with prop Matt Stevens and lock Courtney Lawes returning in place of Alex Corbisiero and Tom Palmer, respectively.
Scotland, which needs to take the maximum five competition points and deny England a bonus point to guarantee a quarterfinal place, recalled captain Alastair Kellock in the second row and Euan Murray at prop. Richie Vernon comes in for Kelly Brown at No. 8.
In the backs, Joe Ansbro replaces Nick de Luca at outside center, Sean Lamont moves from the wing to inside center instead of Graeme Morrison with Simon Danielli recalled on the wing. Mike Blair takes over at scrum-half from Rory Lawson.
ENGLAND: Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Mike Tindall, Delon Armitage, Jonny Wilkinson, Ben Youngs, James Haskell, Lewis Moody (captain), Tom Croft, Courtney Lawes, Louis Deacon, Dan Cole, Steve Thompson, Matt Stevens
Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Alex Corbisiero, Tom Palmer, Nick Easter, Richard Wigglesworth, Toby Flood, Matt Banahan.
SCOTLAND: Chris Paterson, Max Evans, Joe Ansbro, Sean Lamont, Simon Danielli, Ruaridh Jackson, Mike Blair, Richie Vernon, John Barclay, Alasdair Strokosch, Alastair Kellock (captain), Richie Gray, Euan Murray, Ross Ford, Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: Scott Lawson, Alasdair Dickinson, Nathan Hines, Ross Rennie, Chris Cusiter, Dan Parks, Nick de Luca.
South Africa winger Bryan Habana, who scored four tries in his previous Test appearance against Samoa at the 2007 World Cup,said he’s braced for a physical challenge from the Pacific island team in tomorrow’s Pool D match in Auckland.
“That first 20 minutes against Samoa in 2007 was some of the toughest Test match rugby I’ve ever played,” Habana said today at a news conference. “I reckon tomorrow it will be no different. We have to make sure we are playing our best rugby if we’re going to have any chance of success.”
Defending champion South Africa will guarantee first place in the five-team group by avoiding defeat against Samoa.