Tompkins paying for forgetful nature

Wales centre Nick Tompkins is emerging as one of the stars of Rugby World Cup 2023 with his reaction to Gareth Anscombe's deft chip to score against Australia showing his sharp rugby brain on the field.

Off the field, though, the Saracens player is a little bit more relaxed - and his wallet is all the lighter because of it.

The 28-year-old is top of the fines list imposed on the players for any breaking of team rules regarding wearing the right kit or being on time for meetings.

"Wrong shirts, don't wear the right stuff. I think I have forgotten suit shoes before, I was late to one meeting and I forgot my passport at another," said Tompkins.

"I pick up these (fines). I think it is because I am too laid-back or forgetful. I'll put it down to that, it's not just because the boys want to bully me."

Azzurri burn their worries after All Black defeat

Italy adopted a novel way of moving on from the trauma of losing 96-17 to the All Blacks ahead of taking on hosts France in their final Pool A match on Friday evening. The entire playing and coaching staff gathered together early in the week around a large fire and each of them wrote their personal thoughts (and perhaps fears?) on the New Zealand defeat on bits of paper before ceremonially throwing them into the flames. 

"Going into the week, Kieran brought us in and we needed to get our confidence back so we did this thing where we chucked our thoughts into the fire, sort of thing, and tried to forget about it and take our learnings into this week," explained scrum-half Stephen Varney confirmed on Wednesday. 

Varney was not sure if his boss, Kiwi Kieran Crowley, had been inspired by hit TV show Ted Lasso, in which fictional football team AFC Richmond led by the eponymous American football coach, do something similar. But he is certain it has worked. 

"I think it was a good way of forgetting about it and moving on," Varney said. "We got our confidence back from training now and hopefully we can put a good performance in on Friday."

'Ill huff and I'll puff and I'll... win the cup'

England's players have been giving it plenty of huff and puff - and not just in going through their pool unbeaten so far.

Away from the pitch, the players took part in a 'Straw Challenge' involving blowing a table tennis ball along a table into a paper cup.

Some proved to be naturals at finding the cup at the first attempt while others, like Marcus Smith, had their attempts sabotaged.

For Maro Itoje, it was the old adage that if at first you don't succeed, try again!

Whole of Uruguay pumped for historic All Blacks clash... apart from captain's mum

Spare a thought for Mrs Vilaseca. While swathes of Uruguayans, young and old, prepare for arguably the biggest rugby match in the nation's history, the mother of talisman and skipper Andres Vilaseca is absolutely beside herself at the thought of her youngest boy going up against the mighty All Blacks on Thursday evening in Lyon. 

You might think, having watched her two sons now play more than a 100 times between them for Los Teros that the 'mother of modern Uruguayan rugby' would be used to the stresses and strains of seeing her flesh and blood hurtle into contact. But not so. 

"The night before the games she doesn't eat, she doesn't sleep, she is in a panic attack, you know, the whole 24 hours before the game because of the nerves of having a son on the pitch," elder son Santiago Vilaseca, captain of Uruguay at Rugby World Cup 2015, said with a laugh.