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South Africa's 6ft 8in lock Eben Etzebeth takes exception to Borat comparison while Japan return home to heroes' welcome
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By Nik Simon for the Daily Mail
Published: 17:49 EST, 13 October 2015 | Updated: 18:47 EST, 13 October 2015
As the Rugby World Cup enters the knockout phase with semi-final spots on the line on Saturday and Sunday, Sportsmail's Nik Simon provides his latest 'scrum's the word' diary entry.
Giant lock Eben Etzebeth was less than impressed at being compared to Borat during a South Africa press conference.
Kiwi rugby comedian James McOnie quizzed the Springbok about a resemblance to Sacha Baron Cohen, asking: ‘Eben, has anybody ever told you that you look like Borat? I mean, is that your nickname, Borat?’
Etzebeth’s answer was ‘no’, before one of his colleagues muttered ‘stupid question’ as they left the room.
South Africa's Eben Etzebeth was asked if he'd been likened to Borat by a New Zealand comedian in the press
Sacha Baron Cohen as Kazakh reporter Borat (left) and the 6ft 8in lock who doesn't appreciate the comparison
Wales back-row Ross Moriarty sounded a little aggrieved over his omission from the guest list at Buckingham Palace on Monday.
Captain Sam Warburton and other stars accompanied coach Warren Gatland to a ceremony in which they met the Queen alongside their quarter-final opponents South Africa.
However, Moriarty said the invitation hadn’t stretched to the whole squad. ‘Only a handful of people got to go and I wasn’t one of them,’ he said. ‘I’ve met a few famous people, so I wouldn’t mind meeting the Queen.’
Wales coach Warren Gatland (from left) and captain Sam Warburton met The Queen on Monday
Gethin Jenkins (centre) and Alun-Wyn Jones (right) share a laugh with Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace
But Ross Moriarty (above tackling Kurtley Beale on Saturday) didn't crack an invite to the royal reception
The Match Official Selection Committee avoided potential uproar in New Zealand by not appointing English referee Wayne Barnes for the quarter-final between the All Blacks and France.
New Zealanders described Barnes as ‘the man who destroyed a nation’ after he officiated the All Blacks’ defeat by France in the 2007 quarter-final, with Welshman Nigel Owens instead appointed for Saturday’s Millennium Stadium Test.
Wayne Barnes (right) was called ‘the man who destroyed a nation’ after New Zealand lost to France in 2007
in 2007 France beat New Zealand 20-18, and the world No 1s are happy to have Nigel Owens this time around
Japan were given a hero’s welcome when they landed back at Haneda airport on Tuesday.
Brave Blossoms coach Eddie Jones and his players were greeted by fans and photographers, before staging a packed press conference in a Tokyo hotel.
‘To finish the tournament ranked ninth in the world, to finish ahead of countries like England, is an absolutely amazing success story,’ Jones told the local media.
Japan captain Michael Leitch leads his team into Haneda airport and a hero's welcome on Tuesday
Coach Eddie Jones (front left) applauds on their homecoming after their historic Rugby World Cup effort
Jones (left) and Leitch led Japan to become the first country to win three games and miss the quarter-finals