TOKYO, 22 Oct - A selection of the best quotes from Rugby World Cup 2019 as the build-up begins to this weekend's semi-finals.
"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 is well aware of the pace threat posed by South Africa.
“I think we've played England once in the last six years (above, at Twickenham last year) so it's hard to build a rivalry when you don't play each other. If we could get the Six Nations to come on board for a global season, we'd be able to do that. Once they do that, then they're starting to think about the game rather than themselves. There's a headline for you…"
- New Zealand coach Steve Hansen with a mischievous message to Europe's elite.
"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."
- Hansen again, on the prospect of a penalty goal-kicking shoot-out to decide the semi-final against England if the match ends in a draw.
“We don't have any pressure, mate. Put up your hand if you think we can win. There you go, so no one. No one thinks we can win."
- England coach Eddie Jones insists he is not feeling any stress ahead of Saturday's semi-final against New Zealand.
"One week ago, I was going to get sacked, Owen (Farrell) couldn’t kick, someone wrote there’d be blood on the walls of Twickenham. Now we are in a semi-final and have a chance of going through, and we are just excited about it."
- Jones, again, this time emphasising that a week is a long time in rugby.
"To me and everyone in this team, it doesn’t matter about your skin colour or where you come from. Rassie (Erasmus) will pick a guy who is there to work hard, and does the job perfectly well. Comparing him to previous coaches, it was like you pick someone who has been there for years, even though we can see he is not pulling his weight. Now, you get picked by the work that you do, and how you execute it."
- South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi is full of praise for Erasmus's decision to appoint Siya Kolisi as captain.
"I don’t know. I couldn’t see anyone. It was too windy."
- If there was a New Zealand spy watching England train, prop Joe Marler had no idea. Well, we all now hard it is to focus when the wind is in your eyes.
"Tom (Curry) has been badgering myself and Dan (Cole) for a while now to go to his sodding cat cafe and I said to him, 'it is not all it’s cracked up to be'. But now his parents are here he can finally leave us alone."
- Marler again, this time on team-mate Curry's feline fetish.