Joe Schmidt cools world number one comments

Date published: November 18 2018

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt played down talk of his charges now being favourites for the Rugby World Cup after their win over New Zealand.

Following the 16-9 November Test victory in Dublin on Saturday, the Irish can take a great deal of confidence from their hard-fought showing.

But Schmidt has kept a lid on quotes from New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen, who responded to claims that Ireland are now favourites.

“As I said earlier in the week this was number one versus number two in the world,” said All Blacks boss Hansen after the loss. “So as of now they are the number one team in the world. So if you want to make them World Cup favourites, go ahead. I guess they are favourites.”

Schmidt’s reply was dismissive of the claims, saying: “I think he probably enjoyed a little bit of banter.

“I’ve huge respect for Steve, Fozzy, and Scott MacLeod, their coaching staff.

“So for us to be favourites when they have been the world number one team for nine years, and continue to be the world number one team.

“We were at home, and they were coming off a long series of games where they have travelled around the world a number of times.

“I thought the crowd were phenomenal tonight. And that’s a lot of things stacked in our favour.

“So we’ll take tonight, and leave 11 months’ time for 11 months’ time.”