South Africa's 6ft 8in lock Eben Etzebeth takes exception to Borat comparison while Japan return home to heroes' welcome

By Nik Simon for the Daily Mail

Published: 17:49 EST, 13 October 2015 | Updated: 18:47 EST, 13 October 2015

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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

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 in character as Kazakhstan reporter Borat
Etzebeth, the 6ft 8in lock who doesn't appreciate the comparison

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

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

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 

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

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

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

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

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

Jones (left) and Leitch led Japan to become the first country to win three games and miss the quarter-finals

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By Shane Walker 10/14/2015 00:47:00