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Ireland take World no. 1 ranking in victory over Wales.
Joe Schmidt’s Ireland will go into the Rugby World Cup as the No. 1-ranked test side but the Kiwi coach insists the All Blacks are still favourites.
Schmidt piloted Ireland to a 19-10 win over Wales on Saturday (Sunday morning) in his final match in Europe to go to the top of the World Cup rankings a fortnight out from the World Cup.
But he told reporters the No 1 label meant nothing.
“We have been lucky enough to tick a few firsts off with this group over the last six and a half years but that label is not going to be relevant to anyone.
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“We all know who the favourites are and it’s not us,” he said in a pointed reference to the All Blacks.
He said the All Blacks, who had held the ranking before the Dublin match between the last two Six Nations series champions, would not be bothered about the label either.
“Knowing [New Zealand coach] Steve [Hansen] and Ian Foster and the coaching staff and some of the players, for them it’s far from their minds.
“The All Blacks are very process-focussed.
“For them it is about getting out and making the ball work and working hard for each other and they do an exceptional job of it and we acknowledge the quality that they bring to world rugby.”
Ireland showed progression in their warmup matches for the tournament in Japan this month.
The Irish were thrashed by England 57-15 at Twickenham two weeks ago, and their second-string side beat Wales’ second string in Cardiff last weekend. In the
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