■ NEW ZEALAND
Lomu lauds Habana
Former All Black winger Jonah Lomu will be quick to congratulate Bryan Habana if the South African sets a record for tries scored in a single World Cup in Saturday's final against England. The lightning-fast Habana equaled Lomu's 1999 record of eight tries with his pair in the semi-final defeat of Argentina and will be a major threat to England's hopes of retaining the title in Paris. "The sky's the limit for him," Lomu told BBC Radio Five Live on Tuesday. "When he got to the eight the other day I was the first to stand up and applaud. He's a great ambassador for South Africa and a great ambassador for the sport. I'm hoping he will break it on Saturday because records are there to be broken. If you're defending against him you've got to shut his space down quickly. If he gets it in a dangerous area, nine times out of 10 he will score."
Bachelot rebukes Laporte
French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot on Tuesday called to order her future junior minister, national rugby coach Bernard Laporte, for his cavalier attitude after he said he would leave his new job if he didn't like it. Bachelot said 43-year-old Laporte's new job is a public service and not a question of personal pleasure. "To be secretary of state, isn't a question of personal pleasure. We fulfill a function, we don't do this for pleasure, we fulfill this function for the good of the French people," Bachelot said on French national radio. Laporte had said of the job he starts on Monday: "I have a new job; if I like it, I'll stay, if I don't, I'll go. I have always had this freedom, and all the better. I will start with a lot of conviction, a lot of enthusiasm because I believe that people who have appointed me have made a lot of effort as well."
Will Harry invite Chelsy?
Prince Harry could face a ruck with his girlfriend Chelsy Davy over the World Cup final between England and South Africa. Harry, third in line to the throne, is an avid follower of the England team, while Zimbabwe-born Davy has spent much of her life in South Africa, where her family has interests and property. She studied at the University of Cape Town and lived in the city before recently embarking on a postgraduate course at Leeds University in northern England. British Army officer Harry, 23, reportedly missed her 22nd birthday to roar on defending champions England at the Stade de France in Paris last Saturday. He was decked out in a team jersey and was seen leaping out of his seat as he watched England's nail-biting 14-9 win over hosts France in the semi-final. Unlike hordes of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II's subjects, Harry does not seem to have trouble getting his hands on World Cup tickets.
Mortlock out until April
Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock will miss half of next year's Super 14 season after injuring his shoulder at the World Cup, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said yesterday. In a major blow for his club the ACT Brumbies, Mortlock will not play until April after learning he must undergo the third shoulder reconstruction of his career. "He's out until April, he only learned this morning," an ARU spokesman said. The Brumbies have already lost the services of George Gregan and Stephen Larkham, who will play overseas next year.