Wallaby skipper Stephen Moore is only focused on their first match against Fiji. Photo: SMH
Wallaby captain Stephen Moore has already started to tune out incessant references to Australia’s World Cup “Pool of Death”, saying the team was looking no further than first-round opponents Fiji once the whips start cracking in England.
The Australians have returned to train in the sweltering Indiana heat at the University of Notre Dame following their win over the USA Eagles at Chicago’s Soldier Field, a victory unlikely to take out any beauty pageants but which crucially produced no signs of injury.
Arch-rivals Krasny Yar (in green) and Yenisey-STM battle it out for Krasnoyarsk’s bragging rights. Photo: IRB
The choice of England as the host nation for next year’s Rugby World Cup is a fitting one, as it is of course the birthplace of the game. There is a good sense of continuity after the 2011 edition in New Zealand, as the Land of the Long White Cloud is considered one of the sport’s great heartlands. There is a sense of the battle for the Webb Ellis Cup moving from one side of the world to the other.
The southern Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk may not be the geographical halfway point between Eden Park and Twickenham but it is not too far from it at nearly 8,000 miles from Auckland and almost 4,500 miles from London. So, perhaps it is apt that the Russian city is to play host to the Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifier between Russia and Zimbabwe with a place in the repechage final against either Uruguay or Hong Kong up for grabs.
Krasnoyarsk is a city that represents the love and passion for rugby outside the traditional strength of Europe’s Six Nations and the southern hemisphere hotbeds of New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina. Irish rugby fans may be somewhat familiar with the city as it played host to Ireland in 2002 as part of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2003.