Joe Schmidt dismissed Steve Hansen’s claim that Ireland are World Cup favourites following their historic victory over New Zealand as “a little bit of banter”.
All Blacks head coach Hansen this week declared that the winner of Saturday’s showdown at the Aviva Stadium would be the number one team in the world.
New Zealand remain at the top of the rankings despite suffering a 16-9 defeat, Jacob Stockdale scoring a superb only try of pulsating Test in Dublin.
Yet Hansen stated after the world champions’ first defeat on Irish soil: “As I said earlier in the week this was number one versus number two in the world.
“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.”
Ireland head coach Schmidt said the rankings speak for themselves.
“I think he probably enjoyed a little bit of banter,” said the New Zealander.
“I’ve huge respect for Steve, Fozzy [Ian Foster] 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.”
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