Rugby World Cup News: Monday 29 July

Rugby World Cup 2019: Best World Cup Springbok XV

Darry Worthington takes a look at the major Rugby World Cup news that has come out this past week. 

With the Rugby World Cup just a few weeks away and warm-up games coming thick and fast,  it's getting to the point where injuries and the form of key players could derail sides campaigns.

Below, we take a look at the latest World Cup news for the week of the 29th of July.

Big Brodie Injury Blow for All Blacks
It wasn't the best weekend for New Zealand as not only were they held to a draw by the Springboks, but they also saw talismanic lock Brodie Rettallick forced from the field with a dislocated shoulder.

The injury may well rule the Waikato Chiefs stalwart out of New Zealand's opening World Cup match against the Springboks on September 21st as these sort of injuries generally take 10 weeks to heal.

Retallick's injury is an absolute nightmare for coach Steve Hansen as he now needs to settle on a third choice locking option for the World Cup. Second-rower Patrick Tuipulotu seems to have the inside track but the Blues skipper has been far from consistent on the international stage. Utility forward Vaea Fifita is the next obvious candidate but he's not exactly the player you'd want coming on to the field against a large South African pack should an early injury occur to either Sam Whitelock or Scott Barrett when the two sides meet in Yokohama in September.

Perhaps, a late recall for Crusaders stalwart Luke Romano is in order? The veteran may have fallen out of favour with Steve Hansen over the past two years but he offers a far more solid option than utility players like the aforementioned Fifita or Jackson Hemopo.

Host Nation on Fire
The World Cup hosts looked mightily impressive in their Pacific Nations Cup opener where they beat a much-fancied Fijian side 34-21.

South African born Kotaro Matsushima bagged two tries for his side who were led by fellow South African Lappies Labuschagne, who skippered the side on his Test debut.

Japan's high-energy performance will have given their Pool A opponents a lot of food for thought.

Rugby Champs Sides Pondering Positions
Each and every one of the Rugby Championship sides still have major positional issues to address. The All Blacks still need to figure out who will be the backup fullback should injury befall Ben Smith, while Australia still need to sort out numerous positions in their backline including who will be the incumbent pivot at the Rugby World Cup.

Argentina to face a selection dilemma at fly-half with veteran Nicolas Sanchez struggling to provide the same attacking dynamism the Jaguares' fly-halves produced during Super Rugby. Los Pumas also to address their front row issues with their props struggling at scrum time.

The Springboks, who have probably gained the most in terms of player depth from the Rugby Championship, also have a major selection issue to sort out with both Damien de Allende and Andres Esterhuizen struggling to make an impact in the games they've started.

States Run Riot
Back to the Pacific Nations Cup now, and the United States, like Japan, also got their campaign off to a flying start as they tore apart neighbours Canada 47-19.

The heavy defeat will be a major worry for Canada who are pitted alongside South Africa and New Zealand in World Cup Pool B. They could well be in for two major hidings from the aforementioned giants of the game.

European Sides at the Ready
Six Nations sides Italy, England, Ireland and Wales will start their World Cup warm-ups games from Saturday the 10th of August with France and Scotland joining in the following weekend.

These sides have been out of action since the close of the Six Nations and it will be interesting to see just how well their training camps have functioned and what new dynamics they have brought to their respective games when they take to the field in the coming weeks.

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