THE BREAKDOWN | WORLD CUP BRIEFS

CONTEPOMI COY ON SCOTS
ARGENTINA captain Felipe Contepomi is staying tight-lipped on his hopes of facing Scotland in Sunday’s crucial Pool B showdown. The Pumas fly-half is being tipped to recover from a rib injury for a match that is likely to decide who joins England in the last eight. But Contepomi said: “If I’m fit to play, I’ll play. If I’m not I’m fully confident in the strategy and that the players will enter the pitch on Sunday and be competitive.” Scotland kicking coach Duncan Hodge called Contepomi Argentina’s talisman, adding: “I don’t think it will alter how Argentina play, but individually he is quite unique.”

FIT CAMP BENEFITS WELSH
WALES forward Luke Charteris insists their brutal pre-tournament fitness camp in Poland is paying dividends as they take aim at the quarter-finals. Wins over minnows Namibia and Fiji in their last two Pool D games would book their place in the knockout stages, where they are likely to meet Six Nations rivals Ireland. “Looking back to the summer, we really didn’t want to be in Poland. It was horrible out there, and we were cursing the coaches,” said Charteris. “But we have still got something left in the tank near the end, and that is when games are won and lost.”

IRISH BACKS ON FRONT FOOT
IRELAND centre Keith Earls has promised their backs will throw caution to the wind when they face Russia on Sunday. Irish forwards have eclipsed their more attacking team-mates in wins over USA and Australia but that could change against a team who shipped nine tries against Italy yesterday. “You’ll see a lot more from our backline, hopefully starting from this weekend,” said Earls.