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Maka in doubt

Tongan skipper Finau Maka is in doubt for tomorrow night’s opening Rugby World Cup clash against the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Let’s get this party started

You can feel it, you can almost touch it. The Rugby World Cup hits our fields, screens and our hearts in just hours. BY CAMPBELL BURNES

No Botha for Boks

Springboks lock Bakkies Botha is unlikely to feature in his side’s opening Rugby World Cup game against Wales in Wellington this Saturday due to an Achilles injury.

Cooper revels in bad-boy status

Quade Cooper loves being ‘Public Enemy No 1’ in New Zealand following his recent on-field clashes with Richie McCaw.

The quiet achiever

Ireland coach Declan Kidney is not one to blow his own trumpet or wax lyrical about what his team can achieve. But his body of work shows a man who gets things done and done well. BY LIAM HEAGNEY

Big guns for Argentina

Argentina has named its strongest team for its opening Rugby World Cup match against England in Dunedin on Saturday.

Henry springs surprises

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has sprung several selection surprises when he named his team for the Rugby World Cup opener against Tonga in Auckland on Friday.

O’Connor on the bench

James O’Connor will start the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup opener against Italy in Albany this Sunday from the sidelines.

Stars that could turn a game

LEE STACE looks at some players who are capable of turning the tide of a Rugby World Cup game in an instant.

Deans: Good start important for Oz

The Wallabies need to hit the ground running when they open their Rugby World Cup campaign, otherwise they face the possibility of being ambushed by Italy when the two teams tango in Albany this Sunday.

Injury concern for Woodcock

All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock is being bothered by a hamstring twinge ahead of his side’s opening RWC match against Tonga in Auckland this Friday.

Yachvili gets first crack

Dimitri Yachvili has been given a prime opportunity to establish himself as the first-choice halfback when France kicks off its Rugby World Cup campaign against Japan in Albany on Saturday.

Tonga concerned over officials

Tonga coach Isitolo Maka is concerned about referees’ bias towards his team head of its Rugby World Cup opener against the All Blacks in Auckland this Friday.

Moody to miss England opener

England skipper Lewis Moody has been ruled out of his side’s opening Rugby World Cup match against Argentina in Dunedin this Saturday due to a knee injury.

Smith: Choking ancient history

The All Blacks did choke at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, says centre Conrad Smith.

Cannon tears into O’Connor

Former Wallabies hooker Brendan Cannon has labelled James O’Connor “high-maintenance” is a stinging newspaper column.

Muller: Pool D ideal preparation

Pool D will provide the best preparation for the Springboks as they look to defend their Rugby World Cup crown, says lock Johann Muller.

The multi-purpose prop

Ben Franks doesn’t want to be known as a utility – he wants to be the best multi-purpose prop in the world.

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