A selection of the best quotes from players and coaches at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan on Thursday.
‘We have had two-and-a-half years to prepare for this game, so we are ready to go. It’s going to be a great contest, isn’t it? Two heavyweights, one dressed in black, one dressed in white. You couldn’t think of a better scenario.’ – England coach Eddie Jones says he is as excited as anyone about Saturday’s semi-final against New Zealand.
‘He’s trying to take pressure off his own side by getting everyone to talk to us about pressure. Again, smart move, but I’m not buying into it, our players aren’t buying into it. We know we’re under pressure, we don’t need Eddie to tell us that. What he needs to work out is what are England going to do about the pressure they’re under. Because they’ll have memories about a tournament four years ago that didn’t go that good – so they’ll be under immense pressure themselves.’ – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen hits back at his England counterpart Eddie Jones, who said New Zealand are under pressure heading into their semi-final.
‘Don’t read it. Don’t really care.’ – All Blacks captain Kieran Read on Eddie Jones’ mind games.
‘You very seldom see him in a mouth fight and mudslinging before Test matches. I’ve never been there having to reply to something he says, and he doesn’t bite at you to create unnecessary nonsense before a Test match.’ – South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus is relieved he doesn’t have to get involved in those sorts of mind games with Wales boss Warren Gatland.
‘Jordie’s a psycho because he’s been bullied by Scooter [Scott] and Baz [Beauden]. Scooter’s the one who’s nice and calm, and Baz is like in between. He does lose it now and again but he does have that calm karma about him. We play a bit of darts in the team room, and Jordie loses the guts if he throws a bad dart. He’s a psycho, an absolute psycho.’ – New Zealand hooker Dane Coles gives some insight into the Barrett family dynamics.
‘He’s a bit bigger since the top bunk he slept in – he probably wouldn’t fit. I was on the bottom bunk back in 2002. It’s great to room with him, he’s clearly got his rugby head on because the other night he was sleep-talking and was calling out lineout moves.’ – All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett on sharing a room with little brother Scott for the first time in 17 years.
‘I’m sure Dad will try to add his 10 cents in the next couple of days. As long as Scott doesn’t follow some of Dad’s tactics from ’98 – you probably can’t get away with it now.’ – Jordie Barrett says his father, former flanker Kevin, will not be able to resist passing on tips to Scott about playing at No 6.
‘If I am the shield, he must be talking himself up as the sword.’ – England prop Mako Vunipola reacts after brother Billy called him his shield.
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