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Italy to bid for 2023 Rugby World Cup

(AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

MILAN (AP) Italy will bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Italian Rugby Federation will formalize its interest in May, but announced on Thursday it has already been guaranteed support by the country's governing sports body, the Italian Olympic Committee.

Italy has never hosted the Rugby World Cup but will stage the junior world championship this year, as it did in 2011.


Highlanders beat Chiefs with late kicks

(AP) -- Replacement flyhalf Marty Banks kicked two late penalties to give the Highlanders a 20-17 win over the Chiefs in an all-New Zealand Super Rugby match in Hamilton on Friday.

The Highlanders had only 18 percent of territory in the first half but led 14-3 at halftime after a try to Patrick Osborne. (MORE)

Saint-Andre makes four changes for Italy

PARIS (AP) France coach Philippe Saint-Andre made only four changes Thursday to his 30-man squad to prepare for the Six Nations match against Italy despite his team's continued struggles.

Saint-Andre, who chided his players following last week's 20-13 home defeat to Wales, included prop Nicolas Mas, lock Alexandre Flanquart, center Maxime Mermoz and scrumhalf Rory Kockott to the group summoned for the March 15 game in Rome. (MORE)

France's Pape loses appeal against ban

LONDON (AP) France lock Pascal Pape has lost his appeal against a 10-week suspension for kneeing Ireland No. 8 Jamie Heaslip in the back during their Six Nations rugby match last month.

An independent Six Nations appeal committee made its ruling after a hearing on Tuesday. (MORE)

Parra out for 10 weeks with knee injury

PARIS (AP) France scrumhalf Morgan Parra will miss the rest of the Six Nations after being ruled out for at least 10 weeks with a knee injury.

Parra, who plays for Clermont in the Top 14, won't undergo surgery after tearing the posterior ligament in his right knee during France's 20-13 loss to Wales on Saturday. (MORE)

Clinical Ireland beat England 19-9

DUBLIN (AP) Ireland took control of its Six Nations destiny with a 19-9 victory Sunday over England that kept the unbeaten Irish on course for a Grand Slam and extended their winning streak to a team-record 10.

Ireland broke open a try-less slugfest early in the second half as Conor Murray's box kick found a leaping Robbie Henshaw in the right corner of the in-goal area. Jonathan Sexton's conversion put Ireland 19-3 ahead. George Ford's two penalties were all England could muster in reply. (MORE)

Saint-Andre blasts his own players

PARIS (AP) Emotional France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has launched a scathing attack on his own players following Saturday's lackluster 20-13 defeat to Wales in the Six Nations, saying the team has become "the Father Christmas of international rugby" because it gives away so many points.

His voice trembling with emotion, Saint-Andre looked on the verge of tears Sunday as he made it clear he feels extremely let down. (MORE)

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