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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Around the World Cup (Day 17)

Credit where it’s due

France made it three wins out of three yesterday - not that current head coach Jacques Brunel is copping much credit for it. Most of the kudos for the improvement in France's play has been attributed to assistant coach Fabien Galthie, and the staff members he brought with him when joining the set up after another dour Six Nations campaign from Les Bleus.

Brunel is widely expected to be replaced by Galthie — a former standout scrum-half for France — after the tournament ends and remains evasive about his current role.

"What would you like me to be specific about?" Brunel said dismissively. "Like the rest of the staff he contributes to building this team."

Next question…?

Crying foul

Italy props Andrea Lovotti and Nicola Quaglio have both been banned following an incident during Friday's World Cup clash against South Africa. Lovotti was sent off by referee Wayne Barnes for a lifting tackle on Springboks number eight Duane Vermeulen, while Quaglio was cited for his involvement in the same tackle that saw Vermeulen dropped headfirst to the ground.

Both players attended a disciplinary hearing in Tokyo on Sunday and were suspended for three matches. In a statement World Rugby said: "Lovotti admitted the act of foul play and accepted that it warranted a red card.

"Quaglio accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, but denied that it met the red card threshold.

"Having considered all the evidence and after hearing from the players and their legal representative, the panel upheld the citing against Quaglio and imposed a sanction of three matches for both players."

They will miss Italy's final group game against New Zealand next Saturday as part of their bans.

Wherever you lay your hat…

Russia back-row Tagir Gadzhiev has been doing his best to make sure he feels right at home in Japan by sporting an item of headwear native to the region of his birth, Dagestan, in the south of Russia.

The traditional Caucasian wool hat is called a papakha, and Gadzhiev has been wearing it while travelling around the country, although he has been careful to remove it before entering stadiums so as not to breach any venue uniform rules.

"The World Cup is the first competition when I brought it with me," Gadzhiev said. "It’s my first time at such a big event, so I wanted to show which region I come from."

Feast in the East for the Beast

South Africa’s Tendai Mtawarira lived up to his nickname of ‘Beast’ when he popped out for dinner the other night. Although there was a slight difference of opinion about exactly what was consumed, with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi initially saying he and the Sharks’ loose-head prop “had some fish”, the true extent of the intake has now been revealed by Mtawarira.

The 34-year-old, who is playing at his third World Cup, admitted: "I do enjoy my fish. I ate about one kilogram of salmon. I have no complaints."

Did you know

Sam Whitelock, who captained New Zealand in the 71-9 victory over Namibia has won his last 17 RWC matches, meaning he now holds the all-time record for consecutive wins at the tournament, surpassing fellow All Black Keven Mealamu’s mark of 16.