TUILAGI mouthguard fine
ENGLAND centre Manu Tuilagi has been fined £4,800 by Rugby World Cup officials for wearing a sponsored mouthguard during the win over Georgia. Tuilagi, whose brother Alesana was fined last week for the same offence, also wore the gumshield in the victory against Argentina. The Rugby Football Union said Tuilagi’s breach was a “genuine error”. The player himself said: “I didn’t know I had worn the wrong gumshield and I got fined for it.”
IRELAND CALL FOR SHERRY
MUNSTER hooker Michael Sherry will travel to New Zealand as precautionary cover for the injured Rory Best (inset). The 29-year-old Best is still being assessed as he recovers from a shoulder injury he suffered in Ireland’s emphatic win over Italy in their final Pool C match last week. Uncapped Sherry is set to join up with the rest of the Ireland squad tomorrow.
BOTHA’S READY TO RUMBLE
SOUTH AFRICA lock Bakkies Botha insists his side’s old guard will leave nothing behind against Australia on Sunday, knowing the match could represent their last Test appearance.
Defeat in Wellington could represent the end of the road for vetrerans Botha, John Smith and Victor Matfield, not that the former is thinking that way. He said: “A handful of us have been around the block and the big secret for us is to focus on the weekend. We know what we must produce if we don’t want it to be our last game.”
GHIRALDINI’S 15-WEEK BAN
ITALY hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini has been banned for 15 weeks for his attempted eye gouge on Ireland’s Cian Healy. A disciplinary hearing found the contact to be a deliberate act and categorised it at the top end of offending, which has an entry point suspension of 24 weeks. The ban was reduced, however, because of the his previously sound record. Ghiraldini can resume playing from January 2012, in time for the start of the RBS Six Nations.