Quotes of Rugby World Cup 2019

They say they can't hear you scream in space, but it seems the pearls of wisdom uttered during the 45 matches of Rugby World Cup 2019 have penetrated even that endless vacuum. Here we offer some of the best ...

TOKYO, 2 Nov - A selection of the best quotes from Rugby World Cup 2019.

"(USA Rugby) is no longer a sleeping giant, it's woken up and it's happening – it's just going through breakfast at the moment."
- USA hooker James Hilterbrand on the evolution of his team's professional attitude since 2015.

"When I could first dream."
- New Zealand's Anton Lienert-Brown revealed when he initially felt the urge to become an All Black.

"We have a funny relationship. Deep down we really love each other but he's never saying it to me. I always say it to him but he gets embarrassed and runs away."
- England's Billy Vunipola revealed the dynamic behind his relationship with his big brother and team-mate, Mako. 

"It is an incredible feeling to know that the test match on Friday will reach the space station – rugby and Rugby World Cup truly are without borders."
- Italy's Sergio Parisse, in his 142nd test appearance, was watched live by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, pictured top, on board the International Space Station.

"I don't know where it comes from. It's inside. It's in there. Today, we had to go there to fetch it, and it came."
The source of his team's courage in defeating Fiji is a mystery for tearful Uruguay captain Juan Manuel Gaminara.

"Some of those bigger boys take a wee bit of time, it's like a big boat versus a little boat. The Titanic didn't move quick enough and sunk."
- New Zealand coach Steve Hansen on the problems big forwards faced in adhering to new tackle guidelines.  

"We'll win by 33-20. Why? Because we train hard, and (Johnny) Sexton is not 100 per cent."
- Three days before the tournament's biggest upset, Japan winger Lomano Lemeki, below, predicted his team would beat Ireland and by how much. He got the score wrong (19-12), but that didn't worry him much. 

"The things that happen in this tournament don't happen in other sports. You've got the Canadian blokes cleaning up the ground (after Typhoon Hagibis). Could you imagine Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi doing that if Barcelona or Real Madrid gets a wash? It's a different game."
- England coach Eddie Jones is a big fan of rugby folk. 

"It's safe to say that's the most people I've ever had watch me train - or watch one of my club games."
- Wales prop Rhys Carre, the youngest player in the squad and appearing at his first World Cup, on the open training session at Kitakyushu Stadium when 15,000 Japanese people sang the Welsh national anthem.

"He's a funny old character, Mister Prime Minister. It was good having him there telling stories. He spoke to us with a full heart and told some funny jokes just to keep the mood nice and chilled."
- Samoa second-row Chris Vui reflecting on a visit to the team by their nation's prime minister, Susuga Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

"I’ve got a massive family so my brother deals with it. They can be a distraction as well... my auntie is always great for that. She’s trying to tell me how to play number eight and giving my brother a few pointers as well."
- England's Billy Vunipola on the perils of accommodating ticket requests from a large, extended, rugby-mad family. 

 "My daughter is always angry when she is watching my games because she thinks the other players are hurting me. She even thinks my team-mates are hurting me, and she says she will come to my training and get angry at my team-mates."
- Five-year-old Elene Bregvadze is clearly a young lady to be reckoned with, although since dad Jaba was the first Georgian to play Super Rugby he can probably look after himself.

"If I had to bet my farm on a team to win the World Cup – that would be a horrible thing to do, by the way – it would be the Springboks."
- Former Namibia captain Jacques Burger, left, has cultivated a healthy respect for his southern Africa counterparts. 

 "Since he's been captain we don't have as many fights at training because he used to start most of them."
-  Wales coach Warren Gatland on his inspirational captain Alun Wyn Jones.

"He has a few more grey hairs than he did in the past. He thinks they make him look more distinguished. I think they just make him look older. He has that, as they say in French, je ne sais quoi."
- Australia coach Michael Cheika damned Adam Ashley-Cooper with faint praise ahead of the back's 120th cap.

"He meant it in a good way, but one thing is, it can mean bad fuel efficiency. But, no, I take it as a compliment."
- Japan winger Kenki Fukuoka on team-mate Kotaro Matsushima calling him a Ferrari.

 "Things would get a bit heated out on the lawn. It'd be, 'If you don't stop crying in three seconds, you won't be an All Black'."
- New Zealand centre Jack Goodhue recalled boyhood backyard rugby games with his twin brother Josh and other siblings Axel and Cameron.

 "The biggest reason is because in all of Georgian history we have been fighting, we've had wars and have been defending our country all the time. We have it in our genes to fight, to wrestle. I think that's why we are good in the scrum."
- Full-back Soso Matiashvili pondered the power of the Lelos pack.

"We’ve definitely got a few Ferraris out there. I don't think I'm one of them – I'm more of a bakkie  (pick-up truck or utility vehicle) person – a Toyota bakkie."
- South Africa’s Willie Le Roux reckoned he is in the slow lane compared with back three partners Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi.

"We aren't playing for Japan because of money. We have a cause."
- Prop Keita Inagaki responded to a comment by coach Jamie Joseph that Japan players earn $100 a day in expenses at World Cup camp.

"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, very weird, and Dan Cole doesn’t have a personality."
- Australia back Matt To’omua shared his knowledge of his former Leicester team-mates.

"I didn't drop him, I changed his role, and he was brilliant. Maybe you guys need to start reporting differently. Rugby has changed. Come and join us in modern rugby. Give me your email and I'll send you an invite."
- England coach Eddie Jones defended to the media his decision to leave in-from George Ford on the bench for their quarter-final match.

"Out wide they’ve got incredible speed. If there was a 4x100 relay race with all the teams in the World Cup, they would probably be the fastest. They have got blowtorch speed on the edges."
- Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards was well aware of the pace threat posed by South Africa.

"You'd be foolish if you hadn't prepared for it but I would be highly surprised if after 80 minutes, then 10 minutes each way, then sudden-death extra time - by which time there'll be bugger all people standing - that someone hasn't scored some points."
- Steve Hansen speculating on the prospect of a penalty goal-kicking shoot-out to decide the semi-final against England.

"We have had two-and-a-half years to prepare for this game, so we are ready to go. It’s going to be a great contest, isn't it? Two heavyweights, one dressed in black, one dressed in white. You couldn't think of a better scenario."
- England coach Eddie Jones was excited about the semi-final against New Zealand.

“They came out with a hiss and a roar, gave us a punch to the nose from the get-go."
- New Zealand winger George Bridge on England's fast start in the semi-final.

"We’re looking forward to Wales and South Africa playing a three-all draw, so they have to play extra time and it's still three-all - and they have to play more extra time. That’s the prediction."
- England coach Eddie Jones did not care who won the other semi-final, just as long as the winners were tired at the finish.

"We haven't even spoken about the haka. We might do a 'W' for Wales. I was just thankful England didn't do some Morris dancing."
- Never mind beating the All Blacks, the world's media wanted to know how Warren Gatland was going to line up Wales to face the haka.

RNS