“Plans remain the same. Expectations are exactly the same. Belief of the squad is exactly the same. We don’t see anything’s changed.”
– Assistant coach Wayne Smith says the tournament-ending injury to Dan Carter has not changed New Zealand’s confidence that they can win RWC 2011.
“I was talking to him (Dan Carter) the other day about being a young kid, you know he’s won this World Cup many times in his backyard and for him to go through that, it hurts all of us. I’m sure we’re going to dig really deep and put in a huge effort for him as well, just to get him across the line and make his dream come true, even though he’s not going to be out there.”
– All Blacks loose forward Adam Thomson is determined to win for Carter.
“We’re hurt, man. He’s a massive part of this group so within the squad we definitely are hurting for him.”
– New Zealand No 8 Kieran Read on Carter’s misfortune.
Colin is a pretty cool customer, he’s got a level head on his shoulders.”
– Read is confident Colin Slade can deal with the pressure of replacing Carter.
“The problem with George North is he’s big and fast and he’s got good feet. He’s able to go round you, he’s able to go through you.”
– Ireland wing Andrew Trimble is looking forward to a quarter-final encounter with Wales’ 19-year-old wing.
“I always enjoy coming up against the Welsh players that I know really well. It adds a little extra spice for me. I’m sure there’ll be a few fun messages sent during the week, just as a bit of banter.”
– Wing Tommy Bowe looks forward to some lively exchanges with Ireland’s quarter-final opponents.
“There’s a few old fellas but they still think this isn’t the end of them yet. Some of them run around the pitch more sprightly than the young fellas at the minute.”
– Bowe has kind words for the team’s old timers.
“I’ve got enough problems with my own group not to laugh at theirs.”
– France head coach Marc Lièvremont responds to a question about England’s off-field issues.
“These things happen with the French. Look at their football team at the World Cup.”
– Engand second row Tom Palmer isn’t surprised by reports of unhappiness in the French camp.
“I think France knew that they were through and that had a big bearing on the game. Tonga were pumped up and I think it will be a very different France team on Saturday.”
– England scrum half Richard Wigglesworth expects France to be tough quarter-final opponents.
“It means a lot of things that I find hard to swallow, like the lost semi-finals at the RWC 2003 and 2007. I don’t want history to repeat itself.
– Imanol Harinordoquy, asked what the England squad means to him, indicates that he has plenty of motivation going into the quarter-finals.
“You don’t know how frustrating it is. It is all the physical battles I missed against Wales and Samoa. When I was sitting in the stand I just wanted to take off my No.1 jacket (Springbok blazer) and get stuck into it.
– South Africa second row Bakkies Botha, who is fit again, did not take kindly to being sidelined by injury.
“You’ve got to be careful with a guy coming in, that you don’t cloud him with heaps of stuff and clutter him up. His strength is that he’s sharp on the field and he’s quick and electric and you don’t want to make him sluggish with too much information.”
– New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith perhaps sees new squad recruit Aaron Cruden more as old-fashioned infantryman than smart bomb.
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