“If you don’t get these things spot on, it gets to the situation when you say, ‘We’ve got to do better next time’, but next time is four months later in the Six Nations, not next week. You don’t get next week in a World Cup.”
– England fly half Jonny Wilkinson contemplates the abruptness of RWC failure after his team’s indifferent match against Georgia.
“Everyone knows the scrum half is the communication link between the forwards and the backs, so I have to improve a bit on my communication skills.”
– South Africa’s Francois Hougaard thinks he needs to brush up on social interaction before he plays at No.9 against Namibia.
“Continually, they’re probably looked upon as the big brother and we’re the little brother and we want to belt them and they want to belt us. If they’re suffering a bit at the moment, the little brother will be smiling and chuckling away, so we’ll enjoy that while we can.”
– All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen weighs up whether he agrees with the Wallabies’ belief that the anti-Australia attitude in New Zealand has gone too far.
“Playing for my country means so much to me. I said I’d be done with Ireland in a few weeks and there’s different interpretations to that … In my own head, I’ll reassess at the end of the World Cup.”
– Ireland fly half Ronan O’Gara is unequivocally unsuccessful in trying to kill off speculation that he is about to retire.
“There are a lot of islanders around here. I don’t think there will be enough tickets to get all these islanders to the stadium.”
– Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger gauges local interest in his team’s clash with Fiji on Sunday at Eden Park, Auckland.
“We had a welcome at a marae (in Invercargill) and there was an interactive session where we got up and learned a few movements. I could feel the spirit of the warrior in me as I did the haka.”
– Romania back row Ovidiu Tonita gets in touch with his inner warrior.
“He’s just arrived. From all accounts we’re not really allowed to go near him. He’s probably in his room eating cookies.”
– England scrum half Ben Youngs suggests Thomas Waldrom may not be making the best use of his enforced ‘quarantine’ after flying in to serve as injury cover for number 8 Nick Easter.
“In Auckland, everybody seems to hate the Boks so everyone is getting behind us.”
– Namibia full back Chrysander Botha is enjoying life as an underdog ahead of his team’s clash with South Africa on Thursday.
“Such things do rather motivate me.”
– France second row Pascal Papé would like to see the press eat their words for suggesting Les Bleus have deliberately chosen an under-strength team to play the All Blacks on Saturday.