Saturday 23 March 2019

Brian O'Driscoll's tribute to Paul O'Connell makes rugby World Cup quotes of the tournament

Paul O'Connell with Brian O'Driscoll
Paul O'Connell with Brian O'Driscoll

Andy Newport

It has been one of the most memorable World Cups ever, with Japan's shock win over South Africa, England's failure to escape their group and the controversial call which killed off Scotland's semi-final hopes all dominating the headlines.

Here, Press Association Sport's Andy Newport looks back on some of the best comments to emerge from the tournament:

"Apparently rugby's on the news in Japan now. It's usually sumo but the big guys have had to move out of the way" - Japan coach Eddie Jones reflects on the impact of his side's stunning Springboks upset.

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Japan head coach Eddie Jones and Kosei Ono celebrate victory after the match against South Africa Reuters / Eddie Keogh
 

"It was a tough choice but I know it's the right choice and I'll back him. If we as South Africans maybe backed each other more, South Africa would be a better place with less hate and violence and more love" - Springboks boss Heyneke Meyer defends his decision to retain Jean De Villiers after that shock defeat to the Brave Blossoms.

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South Africa's Jean de Villiers in action with Samoa's George Pisi and Rey Lee-Lo Action Images via Reuters / Peter Cziborra Livepic
 

"He told us to move our a***s. He was a bit p****d off. We knew he was going to be p****d off at half-time because we didn't make a good first-half performance. It was ugly. He is happy for the moment" - France winger Noa Nakaitaci reveals head coach Philippe Saint-Andre was far from impressed by Les Bleus first-half showing against Romania.

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Noa Nakaitaci during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between France and Romania at the Olympic Stadium on September 23, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.
 

"This is the best day rugby-wise of all our careers," Wales fly-half hero Dan Biggar is left overjoyed by his side's famous World Cup win against England at Twickenham.

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Dan Biggar and Lloyd Williams of Wales celebrate victory Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic
 

"I'm the head coach and we didn't get out of the pool. This is going to sit with us all forever - players, coaches, management. I don't think I'll ever come to terms with it personally because it was such a big thing. We lost two games, but they were crucial games and ultimately that let us down" - Dejected England head coach Stuart Lancaster looks back on the hosts' disastrous campaign.

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Stuart Lancaster has stepped down as England manager

"This is so wrong on many levels. One of the greatest leaders & players of them all. Inspirational" - tweet sent by retired Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll after current captain Paul O'Connell sees his World Cup and international career ended by injury.

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"If I see referee Craig Joubert again, I am going to tell him how disgusted I am. It was disgraceful that he ran straight off the pitch at the end like that" - former Scotland captain Gavin Hastings on the late penalty drama which robbed Scotland of a semi-final slot after losing narrowly to Australia.

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Referee Craig Joubert awards Australia a late match winning penalty during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final match between Australia and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium on October 18, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
 

"Craig Joubert you are a disgrace and should never referee again!! How dare you sprint off the pitch after that decision!!!" - England World Cup winner Matt Dawson also chips in with this tweet after the Twickenham controversy.

"I have been in games where referees have made real blunders, but whoever put that statement out saying the referee got it wrong should be shot. Now you're actually saying the referees are bad'' - former Australia star David Campese, though, leapt to the defence of under-fire official Joubert.

"Meyer has been very, very complimentary. He has just about killed us with kindness. But we know they really want to rip our heads off" - New Zealand coach Steve Hansen refuses to fall for South Africa counterpart Heyneke Meyer's charm offensive ahead of their semi-final clash.

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New Zealand's head rugby coach Steve Hansen
 

"So they'll be feeling they've got our measure and it's going to be up to us to do something special, something extra just to be competitive'' - Australia boss Michael Cheika attempts to offload all the pressure onto defending champions New Zealand ahead of the World Cup final.

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Michael Cheika fires up his Australia players in a huddle before the clash with England
 

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