From the touchline
By Mick Donohoe
PARIS, 29 September – With competition heating up on the pitch, the Pumas don the gloves, the secret's out on Tonga's razor-sharp form and Wales carbo load with a celebrity chef.
Thanks for the memories
Romania's four-time world cup veteran Romeo Gontineac picked up a couple of handy souvenirs following his final RWC match, against New Zealand on Saturday.
Wife Lucinda snapped a photo of him with children Taylor and Olivia-Rose and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and centre Aaron Mauger.
Gontineac met his South African partner during his first RWC in 1995 and his children were born in world cup years 1999 and 2003.
His team-mates also presented him with a giant Romanian silk flag emblazoned with his name.
He might be sad to be leaving RWC 2007 following Friday's defeat by England but at least Tonga vice captain Tevita Tu'ifua will finally get some time to himself.
Tu'ifua became unwillingly enlisted as the Tonga squad barber in France and every day after training he would find a queue of eager customers waiting for the clippers.
"I've probably done about 50 haircuts since we've been here," he said. "Some of the boys want theirs done every other day."
And why do they go to Tu'ifua? "Because I'm free I guess. All the other boys would charge."
At least captain Nili Latu didn't bother Tu'ifua. "I do mine myself - with a razor," boasted a smooth-topped Latu.
Stick to your day job boys
As boxers, the Pumas make good rugby players.
Jorge Ruiz, one of the squad's physical trainers, said during a recent boxing session: "I hope they never have to fight in the street."
But Ruiz was quick to nominate who he wouldn't like to meet in a dark alley.
"I wouldn't fight with the twin brothers Felipe and Manuel Contepomi because they could bite your ear off."
There's no risk of this pilot getting bored on the job.
There's a plane sitting at Saint-Etienne Bouthéon Airport in France with a departure time of 10.15am on Sunday.
However, the flight destination won't be known until late on Saturday night, depending on the winner of the Pool C quarter-final decider between Scotland and Italy.
The pilot will be dining in either Edinburgh or Rome - after flying the losing team home.
Welsh carbo load
Wales received a gastronomic boost ahead of their Pool B quarter-final decider against Fiji on Saturday with a visit from 12-year-old television chef Jake Sawyers.
Sawyers, who won a national competition to become the official chef on UK television show Blue Peter, met his heroes, Wales captain Gareth Thomas and centre James Hook, at their base in Nantes on Friday.
He was given a personalised rugby shirt after cooking a healthy version of spaghetti carbonara for the squad and wishing them luck.
Cardiff-born presenter Gethin Jones also got in on the act while filming Jake's cooking challenge, participating in part of the arduous training session.
"It wasn't like a training session - it was more like a war-zone out there," Jones said. "I've got the scars of battle to prove it and I was only doing the conditioning part of the training."
Watch your back Chad
Springboks captain John Smit was reminiscing about some of the hair-raising nights he'd spent with former team-mate, South African-born scrum half Chad Erskine, who will run out for USA in Sunday's final pool match in Montpellier.
"We're looking forward to getting hold of Chad tomorrow after the game - hopefully during the game as well," Smith said.
Possibly thinking of the referee, he added: "From an on-side position, obviously."
Number of the day
37 - New Zealand wing Sitiveni Sivivatu's 37-second try against Romania was the fastest of RWC 2007, beating team-mate Richie McCaw's try after one minute and five seconds against Italy.
Quotes of the day
"Oh yeah, it just depends if we're sleeping under the coconut tree or rowing the boat, those are the two different Fijians."
- Fiji fly half Nicky Little on whether his team would beat Wales in Nantes on Saturday.
"There are parades, schools are wearing red and the supporters in New Zealand have gone crazy. All the pain we have gone through in this tournament has brought us together as a nation."
- Tonga captain Nili Latu on uniting his nation through their RWC 2007 success.