Schmidt dismisses world No. 1 claim after beating All Blacks
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen's claim that Ireland are now world No. 1 and favourites for the World Cup has been dismissed as "banter" by the Six Nations champions' boss Joe Schmidt.
Hansen - who as coach will seek a second successive World Cup next year in Japan - made that assessment after the Irish had beaten his All Blacks 16-9 for their first win over them at home yesterday morning (Singapore time).
"I said at the beginning of the week it is the two best sides in the world playing each other," said Hansen.
"As of now, they are the No. 1 team in the world."
Schmidt lauded his defence for becoming the first national team to keep the New Zealanders tryless since France in 1995.
But he was having none of Hansen's claims despite recording his second win over his compatriots in four meetings.
"He probably enjoyed a little bit of banter," said Schmidt, who was born in New Zealand.
"I have huge respect for Steve and his team so to be favourites when they have been world No. 1 for nine years isn't likely.
"We are at home, they are at the end of a long series of games travelling round the world.
"We had the fantastic crowd right behind us, so there were lots of things stacked in our favour."
Hansen, who had a costly night as he handed over 460 euros (S$722) before the match to Schmidt for four tickets, insisted the Irish were favourites for the World Cup, although he added there were caveats.
"Ireland are favourites, but there is a lot of water to go under the bridge before it starts," he said.
"This is November, so between now and then there can be injuries and new coaches. What we do know is Ireland will go there reasonably confident."
Meanwhile, England avoided a shock defeat, coming from 15-10 down to beat Japan 35-15 in Twickenham. - AFP
Scotland 20 South Africa 26,
France 28 Argentina 13