Here are the latest rugby headlines on Thursday, September 28.
Chaos sees three players carded for shocking high tackles
Namibia were well on their way to a historic first-ever Rugby World Cup victory, but struggled to capitalise in the second half and were defeated 36-26.
Uruguay managed to complete their comeback no thanks to a series of ill-disciplined moments. Namibia had two yellow cards in addition to a red card after Des Sethie had his head in his hands after a head-to-head tackle was upgraded in the bunker.
Uruguay’s Eric Dosantos was sent to the bin late on for a high challenge, but perhaps curiously his attempted tackle was not upgraded to red before the full-time whistle blew.
Pollard returns to provide huge Springboks boost
South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has made 12 changes to his starting side to face Tonga in Stade de Marseille on Sunday, but only one name really matters.
Fit-again fly-half Handre Pollard returns for his first game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup 2023 in a completely overhauled backline. Deon Fourie starts his first test at hooker and Duane Vermeulen starts at openside flanker with the versatile Grant Williams on the right wing.
But the story is all about Pollard who plays his first match for South Africa since August 2022, having missed their last 16 Tests. The 29-year-old missed out on selection for the original World Cup squad after picking up a calf injury in May but was called up as a replacement when hooker Malcolm Marx was injured.
The fly-half, who kicked 22 points in the Rugby World Cup 2019 final win over England and is South Africa’s record RWC points scorer with 162, starts having made only a 30-minute comeback appearance for Leicester Tigers against Sale on September 15.
But South Africa are desperate for a clinical goal kicker, who would have beaten Ireland last week if they had one on the field.
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Rugby World Cup could be expanded to 24 teams
The Rugby World Cup could be set for a dramatic overhaul in the near future as reports have suggested that an expansion could be on its way.
The Telegraph have claimed that chiefs are are considering adopting the ‘Swiss model’ pool stage that has been used by the European Rugby Champions Cup and from next season the Champions League in football.
It would see the 2027 tournament adding four extra teams.
A final decision is yet to be made, but big changes could be made to the current format. To get the latest rugby news sent straight to your inbox, sign up to WalesOnline’s daily rugby newsletter here.
World Rugby make Dupont call
World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin has confirmed that France star Antoine Dupont can play with a mask for the remainder of the tournament.
Dupont suffered a facial fracture after a head-to-head collision in his side’s recent win over Namibia, prompting fears that his competition may have ended.
However, Gilpin has insisted that Dupont can wear a mask as long as it conforms to the current guidelines.
“At the moment it’s hypothetical, there haven’t been any direct discussions with the French team around a mask for Antoine,” Gilpin said.
“The laws and rules are very clear on face masks … a maximum thickness of five millimeters. And what’s important is that it can’t be hard-covering material.”