A selection of the best quotes from players and coaches at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan on Thursday.
‘Ronan O’Gara has been awesome. He’s still very hard to understand, so I take very little from our conversations, but he’s very determined, very driven, and that gives me a little insight into what the Irish are like.’ – All Blacks flyhalf Richie Mo’unga on the informative former Ireland international, Ronan O’Gara.
‘We aren’t playing for Japan because of money. We have a cause.’ – Prop Keita Inagaki responds to a comment by coach Jamie Joseph that Japan players earn $100 a day in expenses at World Cup camp.
‘If I’m honest with you, yes, I think we are the favourites. I’m not one of those coaches who sit here and say to you, “We are not really sure”, because we prepare to win.’ – Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus admits South Africa are favourites against Japan.
‘I know all their weaknesses, luckily, and I will list them now for you. Manu Tuilagi is a terrible snooker player, George Ford never pays for a beer, Ben Youngs isn’t even the best rugby player in his family, let alone the country. The chicken, Jonny May, is very weird and Dan Cole doesn’t have a personality.’ – Australia’s Matt Toomua roasts his Leicester Tigers teammates, who will be playing for England against the Wallabies on Saturday.
‘There’s a misconception that the All Blacks don’t kick as much as anyone else. They kick as much as anyone else, unfortunately they just kick really well, as a rule.’ – Ireland coach Joe Schmidt lays one myth about the All Blacks to rest.
‘We normally have it once a week. We also had them under Sir John Kirwan but not when Eddie Jones was in charge. I don’t think anyone could have smacked Eddie’s head!’ – Fumiaki Tanaka explains Japan’s extreme version of rock-paper-scissors, involving a plastic mallet.
‘He is a bit of a freak when it comes to fitness. He’s got a big motor.’ – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen praising lock Brodie Retallick.
‘There’s not a lot I can do; I can’t ride him, I can’t carry him, I can’t train him, so it’s just a matter of sitting back and enjoying that for what it is.’ – Hansen confirms he’ll be watching when his racehorse, Nature Strip, runs in the highly lucrative Everest race in Sydney on Saturday.
‘You wouldn’t think he was picked, he was just loping around as per normal, so it’s going to be great. I trust him infinitely.’ – Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he has faith in 19-year-old Jordan Petaia, who will play outside centre against England.
‘Coaching at Kobe was a great learning experience for me. I learned how quick Japanese forwards are in snapping detail. You give them a clear plan and they work like hell to get that plan under their belt.’ – Bok assistant coach Matthew Proudfoot on working at Japanese club Kobe Steelers.
‘Cheik [Michael Cheika] has done a really good job. He’s a good old mate of mine and there will be a bloke in the sky [the late Jeff Sayle, their coach at Randwick] who will be quite excited about Michael and I coaching against each other. I’m sure he’s having a few beers next to St Peter now, looking at the situation.’ – England coach Eddie Jones reflects on facing former teammate Michael Cheika, less than three weeks after the death of their mentor at Randwick Rugby Club.
‘Mate, wake up, you’re dreaming.’ – Wing Sevu Reece on what he would have told anyone at the start of the year if they’d said he would be playing in a World Cup quarter-final for the All Blacks.
‘I had never made an omelette with chopsticks before, but once you can control the chopsticks the method is pretty similar.’ – Wales team chef Andre Moore on the use of chopsticks in Japan.
‘A couple of hotels found it difficult getting poached eggs right. But I showed them and they cracked on. – Moore also says he taught the chefs at some hotels how to poach eggs.