Scotland's braai-thers in arms

Many teams at Rugby World Cup 2023 have been cooking food together and Scotland are the latest to get in on the action.

On the grill for Gregor Townsend's men were the South Africa-born quartet of Duhan van der Merwe, Pierre Schoeman, WP Nel and Kyle Steyn. Non-meat eaters: look away now.

'He's still looking for it...': Sopoaga's team-mates somewhat sympathetic to fly-half's missing 'baby'
Several public appeals and even the offer of a reward later and still a distraught Lima Sopoaga is searching for his beloved kicking tee. The Samoa fly-half, who has been converting tries and nailing penalties with his favourite multi-coloured aide for the past 18 years, lost sight of the prized possession in the aftermath of his team's opening 43-10 victory over Chile. But in the build-up to the nation's second match - versus Argentina in Saint-Étienne on Friday - his team-mates revealed they have his back... sort of.
"He's still looking for it... he's obviously had that one since he was 14 and it's something you hold almost as close as a baby when you are a kicker. Hopefully the world out there can find his tee and get it back to him. Something like that is pretty sentimental to him," fellow number 10 Christian Leali'ifano said, before adding with a grin, "The boys have been mocking him a little bit this week, saying, 'Is it this one?'."
Sopoaga, out of today's Argentina match with a slight calf injury, is yet to confirm if he sees the funny side.

Jersey swap

Uruguay arrived in Nice intending to make a statement in their Pool A match against Italy, and the Azzurri knew they would have to meet the South Americans physically if they were to resist that intention.

“They were preparing for this game for the last two years,” Italy assistant coach Marius Goosen said afterwards. “They said so publicly. We knew what we were going to face, so the boys were up for the game.”

Uruguay opened up a 10-point lead in a pulsating and ferocious first half at Stade de Nice, before Italy wrestled the momentum from their opponents to land a 38-17 victory.

Despite all the tension of the build-up, after the match Italy captain Michele Lamaro patiently waited for opposite number Santiago Civetta to finish all of his post-match interviews before asking if he’d like to swap jerseys. Goosen said that mark of respect has been a common theme at Rugby World Cup 2023.

"You will see that from all the teams," Goosen said. "There’s a lot of, after the game, coaches going into the team’s change room and having a beer together and a bit of a chat.

"It’s great to see. It’s fierce and competitive on the field, but afterwards the boys always want to have a beer with the opposition or swap a jersey. That makes this sport so great - it’s not everyone for himself."

Chile home away from home

As the lights go out very early in Perros-Guirec, it was hard to imagine there is much life in the sleepy, very beautiful town in Brittany that has been a seaside resort since the end of the 19th century.

The Chilean Cóndores have called it home since their arrival in France and love it here.

“The Mairie has been extremely helpful ever since we chose this place as a base camp,” said Felipe Romero, the team manager who saw three possible venues before setting foot at Perros (in Spanish it translates to dogs), as they refer to it. Their hotel overlooks the incredible setting that is Plage de Trestraou.

When Chile had their second open training session at the Stade Yves Le Jannou on Tuesday, the whole town came to support a team they have embraced as their own.

Children were given flags of their region and were soon chanting the famous “Chi chi chi…le le lé” that accompanies every national team.

At the end of the session, players signed autographs, took selfies and expressed their sincere gratitude for so much kindness.

The fact the local community had embraced the team was reinforced when a Chilean journalist invited the RNS and World Rugby TV to a lunchtime barbecue that day before bumping into the town’s butcher, who told him that he wouldn’t open until that afternoon. Fortunately, the supermarket was open!