From the Touchline
AUCKLAND, 1 Oct. - A lighter look at Rugby World Cup 2011.
3 - Australia conceded three tries against Russia, something they had not done in a RWC match since the 1987 bronze final against Wales.
5 - Adam Ashley-Cooper scored his fifth try of RWC 2011 against Russia, tying him with England's Chris Ashton for the tournament lead after 34 matches.
10 - Australia's Drew Mitchell scored his 10th career RWC try against Russia to move level with David Campese and within one of Chris Latham's team record.
Parisse blazing fashion trail
Italy captain Sergio Parisse will be be showing off a bit of Kiwi chic when he returns to his adopted home of Paris.
Designer Kathryn Corry, 28, who trained at the Otago Polytechnic School of Design, presented the Stade Francais number 8 with a blazer ahead of the match against Ireland in Dunedin on Sunday.
Inspired by the statue of Scottish poet Robbie Burns, which stands in the city's Octagon crossroads, it features soaring lapels and extravagant pockets that any Paris or Milan catwalk model would be proud of.
"The measurements the Italian team sent to me were for a Valentino suit," said Corry, before Parisse shrugged the garment on to his 196cm frame on Wednesday night. "That put the pressure on - making a suit for someone who wore Valentino. And it didn't help that it was all in Italian."
Food for thought
Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni is continuing the war of words with Leicester Tigers teammate and business partner Geordan Murphy before the Italy-Ireland match on Sunday.
When told Ireland full back Murphy had said he would leave buckets of chips lying around the pitch to distract the rampaging front rower, Castro responded: “He wouldn’t do it, because he’s too tight and wouldn’t spend that much money on a bucket of chips. Besides he is just angry because he is losing his hair quicker than me, even though it is my bald spot that the overhead cameras pick up.”
The pair own an Italian restaurant in Market Harborough, not far from Leicester, but if Castro has his way, there will be a few more opening.
“I would love to open one in London or Rome, because that would be great during the Six Nations. Still, the one I would really like to open is on a sunny beach, where I sit there doing nothing day and night except drink free beer.”
Grin and Bear it
Russia second row Adam Byrnes reckons the Bears are a tough old bunch when it comes to training knocks.
"There's a massive difference in attitude," he says. "They just shut up and get on with it. There's no complaining. You see guys come out with their elbow completely bandaged up and there's something clearly wrong, and the coach says, 'What's wrong', and they say with a deadpan face, 'Nothing', and get training with what could be a broken arm."
Uni in the Black with graduates
One of the hottest arguments in New Zealand rugby is which club have produced the most All Blacks.
The University of Otago Rugby Club in Dunedin claims to have had 44 members handed the black jersey while playing for the club and a further 21 play for the All Blacks before or after their time at the club.
Auckland's Ponsonby club has long claimed bragging rights but statistics produced by the University club show Ponsonby had 37 players called up to the national side while playing at the club and a further 19 who earned a cap before or after their time there.
University has Adam Thomson in the RWC 2011 squad. Former RWC stars from the club include 1987 winning captain David Kirk, John Timu (1991), Marc Ellis and Mike Brewer (1995) and Anton Oliver (1999).
Great overalls support for Canucks
Support for the Canucks has not gone unnoticed by the players at RWC 2011.
Skipper Pat Riordan said he could not believe how many people had made the trip from Canada and how many Kiwis had embraced the team.
“It’s been amazing the whole tour,” he said. “I saw about 30 guys from a place called Port Alberni, a small logging town on Vancouver Island, at the Japan game and they had the full overalls on and the wool lumberjack jackets. They must have been sweating pretty bad.
“And there’s a bunch of guys from another club cruising around in Mountie suits. Everybody I’ve talked to in the team is just blown away by the support we’re getting.”
And what does he make of the Beardo juggernaut?
“The beards are a pretty popular one. We couldn’t believe it when we got off the plane in Napier and there was little kids and old ladies with beards on and the bus driver had a beard on as well."
Stairway to heaven
Wales flanker Dan Lydiate has been out of action after injuring an ankle early in the match against Samoa.
So desperate is he to get back on the field, and stay with the squad for the remainder of RWC 2011, he has adopted a novel recovery programme.
"I started running up and down the stairs of the hotel. I set the alarm every two hours during the night. It's hard work, but I want to do as much as I can because I don't want to go home. Touch wood, I'm looking at training with the squad next week.”
No welshing on fines by Dragons
Self-policing seems to be the Welsh team's thing. Team management have put it in the players' hands to deal with any misdemeanors, and apparently there are some players with a bit of a dictatorial streak.
"The fines committee are pretty switched on to things like drinking when we shouldn't, getting in trouble, not using these social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook," says captain Sam Warburton.
"If anyone puts something up that they shouldn't they will get fined depending on what it was. They can be quite severe."
But, thankfully, various Welsh charities can benefit from the national team's misbehavior, says Warburton.
"There's a decent kitty there now and normally we donate quite a lot of it to charities back home. I'm not sure what we are going to do with it yet, but I think there's quite a few pounds there now."
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