A selection of the best quotes from players and coaches at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan on Wednesday.
‘The players always say they try to stay away from it, and we do try. But it’s impossible not to see most of the stuff that has been put out there. Some things are really funny, and I enjoy some of the stuff people come up with. But also, some guys get a bit personal.’ – Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk on how he deals with funny memes about him on social media.
‘I can’t go in too deep about it. We do kick a lot, but we try to read the game and the momentum. We don’t always go out with a set plan of me just going up and kicking. We do read the game, and listen a lot to what Handre [Pollard] is telling me.’ – De Klerk on criticism in South Africa that he kicks too much.
‘Everyone has moments of frustration. It is a very pressurised position, and sometimes a team just needs a kick up the backside to get going again.’ – Springbok loose forward Francois Louw on whether Rassie Erasmus has moments of fury towards the players.
‘Hopefully, it will inspire them greatly. It might be difficult to explain to non-South Africans but it generally makes your week a lot better when the Springboks have won at the weekend. Even at times when I haven’t been involved, if the guys do the job, it makes life go a little bit easier. People tend to forget about their personal troubles.’ – Louw on whether the Springboks’ performances will inspire the South African nation.
‘No. He just said, “They’re bloody big buggers, aren’t they?” and left it at that. He just wished us all the best, really.’ – Wales hooker Ken Owens on whether Prince Charles had offered Wales any advice ahead of Sunday’s semi-final against the Springboks.
‘Guys like Richie McCaw and David Pocock. Guys like that really made a difference. David Pocock was so good at it that he made teams change the way they played against him.’ – England loose forward Sam Underhill on who he looked up to as a kid.
‘Things move on pretty quickly in the camp. I have been sent that quite a few times and I think my brother [Ben] has been enjoying it most.’ – England loose forward Tom Curry on getting Player of the Match against Australia and the handshake (not a bow) when he got the award.
‘A few down-ups, a few runs. It’s normally the big boys that spend the time there and go with the strength and conditioning coach. We want to make the team aware, and we’ve made them aware, of the importance of discipline.’ – England scrumhalf Ben Youngs on the punishments for ill-discipline in training.
‘When it comes to World Rugby at the World Cup, they have high standards. So, the top two refs in the playoffs, we believe they are the best refs to manage the semi-finals.’ – Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick on whether the Springboks are happy with the appointment of Jerome Garces as referee.
‘He has been absolutely outstanding for us, he’s a fantastic attacking threat but his all-round game is exceptional well. He is one of those special talents, and we are quite lucky to have him.’ – Wales skills coach Neil Jenkins on winger Josh Adams’ form.
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