“I will eat him tomorrow.”
– Russia’s Vladimir Ostroushko is relishing Saturday’s wing duel with Australia’s Radike Samo.
“I’ll be happy with 21-20 to us.”
– Canada coach Kieran Crowley, a former All Black, makes a bold prediction as the Canucks prepare to play New Zealand at Wellington Regional Stadium on Sunday.
“I think he had a fair idea. He didn’t rush up and give me a kiss or anything.”
– New Zealand coach Graham Henry deadpans as he responds to a question about wing Zac Guildford’s return to the team after off-field indiscretions.
“It’s difficult to put them all in unless we change the number. The IRB are pretty strict on those sort of things. I did suggest we play 17 this week but they said ‘no’.”
– New Zealand coach Graham Henry continues to deadpan when he’s asked about giving all 30 of the All Black squad members some playing time.”
“To do that 100 times is also special, but probably a sign of madness as well.”
– Graham Henry questions his own sanity as he prepares for his 100th match as New Zealand coach.
“It’s a chance to measure yourself against what everyone thinks is the best team in the world, so there’s certainly no trepidation. That’s why you play, to play against the best, and to be doing it in their country in a World Cup as well, probably just adds to the excitement.”
– Canada’s captain Pat Riordan is looking forward to Sunday’s final Pool A match.
“It’s different having a young captain. He does not act like he’s in his 20s. He acts like he has been around for 10 years. It is refreshing as an older player to see that coming through. A lot of the boys around him are a similar sort of age and it pushes the older boys along.”
– Wales prop Gethin Jenkins, a 30-year-old veteran of 78 internationals playing in his third Rugby World Cup, has no qualms about 22-year-old Sam Warburton captaining the side at RWC 2011.
“He wakes up after a game and is not even aching. He’s very professional. It must be the Polynesian gene he’s got.”
– Wales captain Sam Warburton is an admirer of teammate Toby Faletau.
“At this stage I don’t need any surgery or anything like that. A couple of weeks to let it settle down and I’ll be back out there.”
– A fractured cheekbone isn’t a big deal to Australia centre Rob Horne.
“It’s always hard sitting games out. You always want to play in any Test match you miss in a green jersey. It’s great to be back and I’m champing at the bit.”
– Ireland’s captain Brian O’Driscoll, who was rested for the match against Russia on 25 September, didn’t enjoy his day off.
“Whoever wins, doesn’t go home. It’s an interesting permutation the way the pool’s worked out. You lose one game and you can still be on the plane home. That’s the hand we’ve been dealt. We always knew we would have to win this game to get to the quarter-finals.”
– Ireland prop Mike Ross doesn’t want to be on a flight home after Sunday’s Pool C showdown with Italy.
“Historians like looking back. I’m the type of guy who likes looking forward and looking forward to challenges that are there.”
– Scotland coach Andy Robinson, who is English, is elusive when asked how it feels plotting England’s downfall at Eden Park in Saturday’s crucial Pool B match.
“It’s not an option.”
– England centre Mike Tindall is adamant that Scotland will not be the first team to beat the Pool B leaders at RWC 2011.
“This team has turned itself into a side respected by every team in the world. People used to put their B team out against us. No one puts their B team in against us now.”
– Nick Mallett, who was South Africa’s coach when the Springboks beat Italy 101-0 in 1999, is happy with the progress the Azzurri have made in his four years as their coach.
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“We’ve shown that Georgia is becoming a force on the world stage. We’ve shown that we have the ability and fitness. We just need more exposure to these high-level games on a regular basis.”
– Richie Dixon, Georgia’s coach, is happy with the team’s impact on RWC 2011.