Quotes of RWC 2011 - the pool stage
AUCKLAND, 23 Oct. - A selection of the best quotes from the pool stages of Rugby World Cup 2011.
"It was different behind closed doors. It was a pretty tough night knowing that my dream was over, something I worked so hard for was over."
- New Zealand fly half Dan Carter on the groin strain that ended his Rugby World Cup.
"I get to kiss and cuddle my boy straight after the game."
- All Black Piri Weepu's mum Kura on the perks of working as a security guard at Wellington Regional Stadium.
“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 was typically deadpan when asked about giving all 30 of the All Black squad members some playing time.
"They're all our traditional foes, we're English."
- Ahead of their clash with Scotland, England manager Martin Johnson reminded everyone where the game was first played.
"I think we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Last time we got ahead of ourselves, we shot ourselves in the foot and then we did it again a few years before that - shot our other foot. We're just trying to leave our feet on."
- All Blacks second row Ali Williams made sure he didn't put his foot in his mouth when asked about New Zealand's quarter-final opponents before the pool stages were completed.
"Go to hell with your question. The goal was and still is to qualify."
- France coach Marc Lièvremont got touchy after being asked whether his side could still win the RWC after losing to the All Blacks in Pool A.
"People look at the scoreboard and suggest that some of these fixtures are easy, but you've only got to look at some of the carnage to recognise that that's just not the case. The conditioning of every side is good. There's no easy route to the try-line."
- Australia coach Robbie Deans was counting his wounded after the 67-5 victory over USA.
"Samoa is actually a revelation in world rugby. They're in the minds of the people. They were a minnow but they're not any more. Samoa is New Zealand's second team. They've been coached like New Zealand, they act like New Zealand and they play like New Zealand."
- Peter de Villiers, the South Africa coach, admiring the Springboks' final opponents in Pool D.
"It's an amazing country, you see school kids in bare feet running with bamboo sticks for goal posts and running around with what you think is a rugby ball but it's actually a plastic coke bottle. We're representing those people, the kids of Fiji. It's fantastic to be given that opportunity."
- Deacon Manu, the Fiji skipper, was in no doubt who he was playing for at the World Cup.
"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 weighing up whether he agreed with the Wallabies' belief that the anti-Australia attitude in New Zealand had gone too far.
"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 contemplating the abruptness of RWC failure after his team's indifferent match against Georgia.
"I'll still feel a little bit of stiffness, but it's like that old farm vehicle in the morning - it smokes a bit but when you drive it, after an hour, then it's hot and it can go. So, hopefully everything will run smoothly for me, but I'll definitely start the warm-up much earlier than normal."
- South Africa second row Bakkies Botha gave a highveld slant on his return from an achilles injury ahead of the Pool D match against Fiji.
"Something I was told when I was a youngster is that everyone's ankles are similar sizes, so you'll find me going for his ankles."
- Springbok full back Pat Lambie, 21, had no fears of rampaging Fijians.
"The support has been so good that Sonny Bill Williams had to pay a little kid 20 bucks to stop chasing him."
- All Blacks team manager Darren Shand on how some New Zealand fans had driven their heroes to extreme measures.
"You can't tell if they are cheering or booing. The roar from the crowd just spurs you on."
- Australia fly half Quade Cooper couldn't care less that he was public enemy No.1 in the eyes of the New Zealand public.
"I'm under added pressure on Saturday night because my mum's coming. She's 82 and she knows the game. If the team doesn't play well, she'll be the first to give me a hard time."
- Japan's Kiwi coach John Kirwan on a surprise new addition to his RWC coaching staff for the opening Pool A game against France.
“A couple of windows were broken when we first started."
- Wales second row Bradley Davies revealed that not all the players who joined the team choir shared the Welsh talent for singing.
"I have slept rather well and, although it was forbidden, I had a short nap. Even so, on the first training session I felt like my legs stayed in France."
- France utility back Alexis Palisson acknowledged that it took him some time before feeling fully present in mind and body after a long flight to New Zealand.
"Apparently she's a distant relative, I'm not really sure. I suppose I won't be able to say I'm the best rugby player in the family any more."
- Canada's Ander Monro on the discovery of a familial connection to All Black Dan Carter's fiancee Honor Dillon.
"I cut my hair just before I left Japan. I hadn't cut it for a year, I wanted to feel lighter. Maybe I can run faster - no resistance."
- Japan flanker Itaru Taniguchi was willing to try everything to improve his performance at RWC 2011.
“We heard you were concerned about security issues, but let me reassure you that half of New Zealand doesn’t know where Whanganui is, so you’re safe from a terrorist attack."
- Piri Cribb, master of ceremonies, put American minds to rest at the USA team's welcome ceremony in Whanganui.
''Back in the day, I wouldn’t have been messing with the Maori warriors, that’s for sure."
- Canadian centre Phil Mackenzie voiced what many have thought after the Canucks received a traditional Maori welcome in Waitangi.
We mistakenly attributed the following quote to Pita Paraone, Chairman of the Waitangi National Trust. It should have been attributed to the marae kaumatua, in extending a welcome to the Canadian RFU RWC team to Waitangi.
We apologise for any confusion and inconvenience caused,
“All the women of Wellington, we hear, are heading to the nightclubs speaking Spanish and Afrikaans looking for Argentine and South African rugby players. What wonderful looking men we have here for the women of Waitangi, who have been keenly awaiting your arrival."
- The marae kaumatua, extending a welcome to the Canadian RFU RWC team to Waitangi.