From The Touchline - Saturday, 26 October

The Rugby News Service team take a walk on the blindside to find offbeat news stories, stats and anecdotes from RWC 2019...

TOKYO, 26 Oct – Wales will need to keep a close eye on flying South Africa winger Makazole Mapimpi in Yokohama on Sunday night, but TV viewers might also want to watch out for him – to see if he kicks the ball.

The Springboks' speedster, above, has proved he is a master finisher, scoring five tries at RWC 2019 so far, and a decent defender, but booting the ball out of hand is not his forte. So much so that he has done it only twice in the four matches he has played in the tournament so far, a very low number for a back-three player.

Although that statistic becomes somewhat less surprising given the revelations from assistant coach Mzwandile Stick ahead of Sunday’s semi-final against Wales.

"It’s a very special story (about Mapimpi)," he said. "He comes from a rural area in the Eastern Cape, a place called Tsholomnqa. As a youngster, he would walk 10 kilometres a day to school.

"That is the background he comes from. The coaches and players always laugh when I tell the story of how, in the rural areas, if you kick a rugby ball, the coach will take you off the field.

"You are not allowed (to kick). You are supposed to run and catch, that’s all. He was never exposed to a game where there was kicking and aerial skills."

The Secret Diary of Dan Carter, aged 33 ½

New Zealand may have got their lines wrong against England on Saturday evening, but their legendary fly-half, now 37, was word perfect with his assessment four years ago.

Tattoo's sorry now?

The lesson here is very much … think before you ink.


That’s quite a vend off

We have no idea exactly what’s going on here, but it made Japan's wonder winger Kotaro Matsushima laugh and that’s good enough for us.


Daily Bulletin

In today’s episode of Rugby World Cup Daily, South Africa speed king Bryan Habana has a go at replacing Elma as host, and also plays the perfect host to some thirsty rugby fans, Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll is quizzed in the 'Breakdown', and former All Black Israel Dagg takes on Elma in a game of 'sushi Jenga'.

Tweet and sour all the same for Erasmus

There has been a fair bit of criticism of the Springboks’ tactics in Japan from back home in South Africa, none more so than their reliance on the kicking game of scrum-half Faf de Klerk.

But ahead of Sunday’s semi-final showdown with Wales, coach Rassie Erasmus insists he is not bothered about that, and appreciates all feedback – be it positive or negative.

Although what he will make of people possibly questioning his ability to walk and talk at the same time, we can only imagine.

Stat of the Day

Manu Tuilagi's try for England against New Zealand on Saturday was the fastest-ever Rugby World Cup try scored against New Zealand. It came after 98 seconds. 

RNS icr/bo