THE BREAKDOWN | WORLD CUP BRIEFS

McCAw fighting fit
NEW ZEALAND have confirmed captain Richie McCaw will play through the pain barrier against Argentina on Sunday. McCaw was forced to pull out of the final pool game against Canada as a precaution due to a long-standing foot injury. However, the talismanic flanker will return to the All Blacks line-up for the quarter-final showdown. “He’s great,” said All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen. “He’s going to play on Sunday. We’re down to the business end and whilst we’re still in the tournament he’ll be available. We’re just going to have to make sure we do what we’ve done with him all year and what he’s done at the Crusaders and manage it.”

Botha blow for Habana
Bakkies Botha could have played his last game for South Africa after injury ended his World Cup. Botha (inset) had missed the encounters with Wales and Samoa but he had hoped to return to action against Australia in Sunday’s last eight showdown. Wing Bryan Habana, passed fit to play, admitted the mood in the world champions’ camp was subdued upon hearing the news of Botha’s demise. “Bakkies had a talk to the team this morning and it did get a little bit emotional,” Habana said. “Yes, it was a bit sombre in the team room. It’s tough on the team.”

FRANCE target Wilkinson
JONNY WILKINSON will be targeted by France in tomorrow’s quarter-final at Eden Park. Wilkinson has been named at fly-half by Martin Johnson for the last eight clash, despite a series of unconvincing displays in the tournament thus far. And France flanker Julien Bonnaire believes Les Bleus can take advantage of Toulon playmaker Wilkinson's selection. He said: “He, as well as the others, is not as good under pressure. It’s down to us to show more aggressiveness so that he doesn’t put his team forward.”