PARIS, 20 October - England recruit James Bond, Prince William gets his own cup and the French public continue the post mortems.

Top spy support

England go into the world cup final with 007 on their side. Coach Brian Ashton received a fax and a phone call from the sixth James Bond, actor Daniel Craig, during the week.

Craig, a huge rugby fan, is on location in Lithuania and was disappointed that he would not be able to make the big game but asked Ashton to pass on his best wishes to the rest of the team.

The enevitable question was posed to Ashton shortly after by one of the English scribes: "Brian - were you given a license to kill?"
Rugby gets the royal decree

Prince Harry is a regular on the rugby scene, the ubiquitous royal following England's fortunes here and during RWC 2003. Now his older brother, Prince William, who is the vice royal patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, is getting in on the act.

Wales and South Africa will contest the inaugural Prince William Cup, the trophy commissioned to celebrate 100 years of fixtures between the two countries, at the Millennium Stadium on 24 November. The Cup will be contested whenever the teams play against each other outside the world cup.

Wales' early exit from the world cup hasn't put the public off following their team though. The first two batches of tickets were snapped up by fans within minutes of being offered for sale.

France in mourning

The host nation is in mourning after France's disappointing 34-10 loss to Argentina in the bronze final. To make matters worse comparisons are being made between captain Raphaël Ibanez's exit from the world cup and former football captain Zinedine Zidane's last international.

Ibanez was yellow-carded for foul play just before half time in what was possibly his last match for Les Bleus and he did not return to the field.

Zidane made an ignominious exit from the 2006 football world cup final after he was red-carded for headbutting Italy defender Marco Materazzi in the chest following a heated exchange.

Number of the day

27 - the most minutes it has taken for points to be scored in a RWC final. Michael Lynagh eventually got Australia off the mark with a penalty goal against England in 1991.

Quote of the day

"We can always seek things that can make a difference. It was in the heat of the game. What do you want me to do when someone is committing an offence, and again, and again? Should I give them a kiss?"
France captain and hooker Raphaël Ibanez on his yellow card.

RNS mr