Ruck and Maul: Simpson the unused sub will have to cap his call-up in the Cup

 

Joe Simpson did any number of stretches and got a pat on the back from the fourth official, but all his twitches on the Dublin touchline last weekend came to nought as time ran out for the Wasps scrum-half to make a Test debut.

So Simpson will become the ninth England player to go to a World Cup without a cap to his name. Four were in original squads: Jon Webb and Dave Egerton in 1987 (Webb played; Egerton had to wait a few months for his debut); Richard West in 1995 (the lock made his only England appearance against Western Samoa), and Joe Worsley in 1999 (he played against Tonga and Fiji and now has 78 caps). Mick Skinner (1987), Andy Gomarsall (1995) and Martyn Wood and Leon Lloyd (1999) were called upon to replace injured players without making an appearance, though Skinner and Gomarsall each played in a later final, in 1991 and 2007 respectively.

Mullins is man with the mike

Take your (new) partners for the World Cup broadcasters' merry-go-round. Miles Harrison, who with Stuart Barnes was 'loaned' to ITV by Sky for the 2007 tournament, is commentating for Sky New Zealand this time.

Back home, BBC had the UK TV rights for the first World Cup in 1987, but ITV outbid them in 1991 and have held the rights ever since, despite showing little other live rugby. John Taylor, ITV's mainstay as the final commentator, has switched to radio now, working in tandem with Brian Moore for Talksport, who have nabbed the full live rights from BBC Five Live.

Nick Mullins, the lead commentator on ESPN last season, will be ITV's main man for the final in Auckland. The BBC's only live commentary will be supplied in Welsh by Gareth Charles on Radio Cymru.

Wallabies touch Wood

ITV rolled out their pundits for a press call five weeks ago and Sean Fitzpatrick, Scott Hastings, Thom Evans, Alan Quinlan and Lawrence Dallaglio all tipped New Zealand to win the World Cup. Over on BBC a fortnight ago, Jonathan Davies and Jerry Guscott agreed.

Only Keith Wood demurred, going for Australia. Considering last week's Wallaby win in Brisbane, perhaps Woody was on to something. But the All Blacks remains odds-on favourites with every British bookie.

North makes tight call

You feel a little old when... George North, a potential World Cup star on the Wales wing, was asked what he remembered of past tournaments.

The 19-year-old racked his memory all the way back to, er, 1999. 'That was then Wales wore those baggy shirts,' said North, who has known only the figure-hugging variety. Yes, and they all had those long, twirly moustaches too.

Woodward flies in

Martin Johnson has given the green light to wives and girlfriends joining England's players in New Zealand – and another old pal will be there too.

Sir Clive Woodward is taking a week's leave from the British Olympic Association to head down under as a guest of the International Rugby Board, for the semi-finals and final.

hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness