The Springboks’ must-win clash with Italy at the Shizuoka Stadium on Friday will be broadcast in space.
European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano will be watching Friday’s do-or-die Pool B matchup between the Springboks and Azzurri from the International Space Station.
Parmitano, who will be orbiting about 408km above Japan, is a huge rugby fan and will be able to watch his country take on South Africa thanks to a special feed provided by World Rugby.
Commander Parmitano, who will be watching the first-ever Rugby World Cup broadcast in space, believes that the sport has similar characteristics to those needed to run an effective space mission.
‘Rugby is a fantastic game that celebrates friendship and teamwork,’said the Italian.
‘Just like you have to work together to achieve a try, we on board the International Space Station have to collaborate with a team of astronauts and ground personnel from all over the world in order to achieve our objective, “our try”, which is space exploration, technology and science.’
‘Celebrating sport, your sport of community, teamwork and competition in the name of sportsmanship – we on board the station cooperate together to look for a better world.’
Wallabies to wear indigenous strip against Uruguay
When Australia run out against Uruguay in Saturday’s Pool D match at Oita Stadium, the players will be wearing a special jersey reflecting the heritage and diversity of the team and the country.
The indigenous strip has been worn twice before – against the All Blacks in 2017 and England in 2018 – but the Wallabies will be wearing it for the first time at a Rugby World Cup.
Australia’s squad includes seven players with Samoan heritage, five of Tongan lineage, four with a Fijian background as well as utility back Kurtley Beale, who is of aboriginal descent.
Matt To’omua feels that the indigenous jersey reflects the ethnic backgrounds of the Australia squad and he is excited to wear it against the plucky South Americans.
‘To see an indigenous jersey filled with a team full of brown guys is kind of cool and kind of different,’ said To’omua.
‘It’s recognition of quite a few things regarding where we are moving as a society – it’s quite exciting. The makeup of the Wallabies team is a lot different culturally than it was 10 years ago.
‘Obviously, we are very fortunate at the moment that we have got Kurtley in the team and he has shared with us quite a lot of stories in terms of what it means and getting recognition for the first people of our country,’ added To’omua.
Former Welsh centre tips France to cause upset
Jamie Roberts believes that Wales will meet England in the quarter-finals at the World Cup, with France set to top Pool C.
Despite the cliche that one never really knows which French team will pitch up on the day, Welshman Roberts is picking Les Bleus to upset England in their final Pool C fixture.
‘France love to upset the odds at a Rugby World Cup and this will be no different. They can shock England,’ commented Roberts.
Following their comfortable yet unconvincing 33-9 win over the USA on Wednesday, Roberts tweeted that Jaques Brunel’s side are ‘contenders’ for the title in Japan – should they deliver 80-minute performances for the remainder of the tournament.
The French, who usually perform well at World Cups having been runners-up on three previous occasions, have won both of their Pool C matches thus far against Argentina and the Americans.
With Wales expected to top Pool D, after their controversial win over Australia, Roberts thinks that Warren Gatland’s men will face England when the knockout rounds begin.
‘Gatland knows how to defeat them,’ continued Roberts, who is backing his former side to lift the Webb Ellis Cup come 2 November.
Kiwi ref misses penalty
Referee Paul Williams found himself at the centre of arguably the most bizarre incident yet at this year’s World Cup.
Thursday’s Pool D match between Georgia and Fiji had a peculiar moment when the match officials involved could not immediately agree regarding a penalty-kick attempt by Georgia’s Soso Matiashvili.
One of the assistant referees raised his flag to indicate that the attempt had been successful despite the fact that the fullback’s kick had flown wide of the target.
The second AR behind the posts stood with his flag lowered as the Georgians were awarded three points on the scoreboard with Fiji’s players beginning to protest as a result.
The confusion in the stadium increased when the Georgian players began trotting back to their half of the field, before a confused Williams reluctantly blew twice on his whistle, instead of awarding the three points to the Georgians.
After consultation with TMO Graham Hughes, Williams was notified that the kick was miss, with order resuming thereafter.
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