THE BREAKDOWN | WORLD CUP BRIEFS

ALL BLACKS COOL ON ROW
New Zealand’s coaching staff have attempted to defuse the simmering row over France’s selection for their clash with the hosts on Saturday. Critics believe Les Bleus have named a second string team as part of a fiendish ploy to lose and therefore enjoy an easier draw in the knockout stage. But All Blacks assistant Steve Hansen said: “I think it’s a really good team. Who are we to suggest what is their best combination at half-back and first five for this Test match?”

WALES SWEAT ON LYDIATE
Wales back-row Dan Lydiate is in a race to be fit for a potential quarter-final with Ireland. The flanker is not expected to play again in the pool stage owing to an ankle injury.

HABANA BACK FOR BOKS
South Africa wing Bryan Habana has been recalled for today’s clash with Namibia. The Springboks are tipped to win easily but Namibia captain Jacques Burger is “excited”. “It’s like playing your brother,” he says.