Ireland hair today, hopefully not gone tomorrow

They're known as the most well-prepared team at Rugby World Cup 2023. And for Ireland prop Finlay Bealham this means making sure not a single strand of his eye-catching braids is out of place. 

"Every trip I have to do a bit of research which usually involves Google, ‘Who does hair braids near me?’ and send(ing) a few feelers out," explained Bealham who is set to win his 36th cap from the bench against the All Blacks. "It’s bit harder in France because I don’t speak French particularly great. I often find their Instagram and then go to Google Translate, English to French, ‘Hello can you braid my hair at such a time?’

"They do a good job here so it’s about 45 or 50 minutes," he added, before revealing that he "feel asleep" during the procedure ahead of the critical pool-stage match versus Scotland.

All Blacks moving in perfect unison

If New Zealand move the ball with as much precision, care and accuracy at Stade de France on Saturday as they shifted their gear when changing team base earlier this week, then Ireland could be in for a long night. 

A tweet of the entire squad taking part in a bag chain, already seen by more than 2.7 million people, goes to the "heart of who we are and what we are about", according to Gilbert Enoka, the All Blacks' leadership and performance manager.

"No one is more important than anyone and so we all pitch in when it comes to setting up, cleaning up, settling in and moving locations," added the legendary Enoka who has now been at the heart of the All Blacks for six Rugby World Cups, since being appointed by Wayne Smith in 2000.

"These types of behaviours are important to the culture of the All Blacks because it drives at the very essence of who we are. The team towers above the individual and we are custodians of a legacy far greater than each of us and for that reason, we all pitch in and do what is required. It's a brotherhood, it's an honour and a privilege. It's the All Blacks and that's how we move." 

Ireland have been warned.

A hero's return

If the scenes after Portugal sealed their win over Fiji on Sunday were historic, the celebrations at the airport on their return home were monumental.

The victory in their final pool game was their first-ever at a Rugby World Cup and their country have noted their historic achievement.

There were hundreds of fans ready to greet the players at the airport and you could have been fooled into thinking the football team were coming back from a tournament with the excitement displayed. 

Lydiate's dash home 

Dan Lydiate was not present at training before his team's win over Georgia but for good reason - the birth of his third child. 

The Wales back-row and partner Nia welcomed a baby boy and the player wrote on social media: "Been a pretty special week a dash back from France to get back in time for the birth of our baby boy."