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Italy coach Nick Mallett pointed the finger at the country's two Celtic League clubs, Treviso and Aironi, for landing him with a flyhalf headache as he leaves for New Zealand to take part in the World Cup.
With Ireland having failed to progress beyond the World Cup quarterfinals in six attempts, coach Declan Kidney wanted to use an intensive series of four warm-up tests to build confidence and continuity to take to New Zealand.
Marc Lievremont's contested reign as France coach will come to an end after the World Cup, giving him one last chance to prove he can turn the famously flamboyant but inconsistent French into champions.
The World Cup has a habit of throwing up new stars of the game on each occasion it is held. We take a look at some of the likely lads this time around.
One of world rugby's most respected forwards and the player who has led Wales in eight of their last international outings, Matthew Rees, has been handed the captaincy of the Scarlets for the second consecutive season.
For a supposedly predictable team, England is awfully unpredictable heading into this World Cup.
Cheetahs centre Corné Uys has emerged as a target for English Premiership side Newcastle Falcons, who are looking for a replacement for Gcobani Bobo.
Wales head to the World Cup more confident than ever of finally making an impression at the game's greatest showpiece.
At Bellville at 15.00 a team from the Western Province Institute will play against the touring Italian team from the Federation's Accademia.
While his coach, critics and former Springbok legends highlight the point that good goal-kicking is central to a team's World Cup success, it remains a small miracle that Morne Steyn manages to stay calm.
Failure so far to export the fiery Italian spirit so evident at Rome's Stadio Flaminio has often proved Azzurri's undoing at the World Cup.
Griquas have named a 24-man squad, while they wait on the fitness of two key players, for their Currie Cup game against Western Province in Kimberley on Saturday.
Saracens captain Steve Borthwick has agreed a new contract with the Premiership champions.
More than any of the 600 players at the World Cup, Daniel Carter may hold the tournament's outcome in his hands ... and feet.
Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar took no time to recall fit again Springbok loose forward Dewald Potgieter to his side to take on the Sharks in an Currie Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.