All Blacks clean up in Lyon

How does a team keep its feet on the ground after putting 96 points on a rival many expected to push them to the wire? By grabbing the scrubbing brush and donning the rubber gloves ... if you are the All Blacks. 

"We've got groups cleaning the team room and the ice baths, sauna," fly-half Richie Mo'unga revealed on Sunday. "It's nice to spruce things up and not get too comfy but to add little bits that keep the environment fresh." 

Fellow back, Anton Lienert-Brown, a man with 65 caps to his name, has been on coffee machine duty - a task that he finds a "bit niggly" but certainly prefers to the idea of mopping up the sauna after 32 of his teammates have trampled through there. 

"We could be in uni or like a school camp," Mo'unga added, grinning. A happy camp indeed. 

Tompkins gives back after meningitis scare

Wales centre Nick Tompkins knows he is one of the lucky ones after surviving a life-threatening bout of meningitis as a seven-year-old to score one of the tries that took Wales into the Rugby World Cup 2023 quarter-finals.

So much so that he took time out of his hectic World Cup schedule to help the campaign to raise awareness of the killer disease.

Tompkins Facetimed the family of Noa-Rose, who was just three when she was diagnosed with meningitis on 4 December last year - 20 years to the day that he was rushed to hospital by his mum.

“At primary school I just remember getting really cold,” said the centre whose try helped Wales to a record 40-6 defeat of Australia. 

“My lips went blue and from there I just got sent home and my mum she just thought ‘I’m not risking this’. 

“She took me to hospital and from there it just went crazy. What my mum and dad had to go through, pretty dire for them really.

“To have to wrap their heads around that I could have died. But the good thing is that it’s preventable if you’re quick enough.”

Having spent two weeks in intensive care, Noa-Rose is now back home happily playing with her toys with her parents in Wales - and hoping to meet up with Tompkins after the Rugby World Cup. 

Families reunited

A Rugby World Cup campaign is a long time to be away from family for some players and, as the tournament continues, some are reuniting with loved ones.

New Zealand's Beauden Barrett is one such player. His wife Hannah uploaded a sweet video of the All Black star hugging his two children apart from them.

She captioned the video on Instagram: "Six weeks apart, two long-haul flights, one train ride and finally reunited with Dad".

Portugal rise just what the doctors (and vets) ordered

Back in 2007, Luís Pissarra was a key figure when Portugal came to the Rugby World Cup party for the very first time. The scrum-half, who went on to win 73 caps for his country, was vice-captain and the heartbeat of a wide-eyed bunch of amateurs who took on the legendary All Blacks, Scotland and Italy among others. 


Sixteen years later, he is back in France and again at the forefront for the Os Lobos, although this time things are very different. 

"When we played in 2007 our team was full of amateur players. I am a vet for instance, we had two in the team - and two doctors. It was really amateur stuff," Pissarra, Portugal's assistant coach, said. 

"Now half the team is playing professional. Not only the French-born Portuguese that are playing in France, but half the team were born in Portugal and they went to France to play professional." 

The results have perfectly reflected this seismic shift. In 2007 they conceded 209 points and scored just 38 in their four matches. Now, they are making teams like Australia sit up and take notice, running the Wallabies 34-14 and limiting Wales' win over them to just 28-8.

"You see more kids running round with rugby balls now," Pissara added with a laugh.