Rugby World Cup 2019: Wales coach Warren Gatland expects Kiwis to 'joke' about top ranking

Wales coach Warren Gatland is expecting expects "lots of Kiwi journalists will be saying it's a joke" after they replaced the All Blacks as World Rugby's top-ranked nation after their 13-6 win over England. 

Wales' World Cup warm-up victory over England in Cardiff saw them end the All Blacks' 10-year, 509-week unbroken reign, despite New Zealand beating the Wallabies 36-0 on Saturday. 

The southwest Great Britain nation has never been ranked number one in the world. 

Despite the achievement, Gatland isn't bothered, saying "it's just a number". 

"It is a nice accolade to have, but it is all about the next few months and backing that up by performing well in the World Cup, and we've a couple of games against Ireland to go as well.

"It's nice for a day, but we won't be shouting from the rooftops about it. We have got to keep things in perspective.

"Lots of journalists will be out there saying 'this is a joke' - probably Kiwi journalists more than anything! It's just a number.

"We are not making a big fuss of it. We will keep it in our pocket and go from week to week."

Gatland also took a swipe at Wales rugby great JJ Williams for his stinging criticism of Dan Biggar.

Williams said Wales wouldn't win the World Cup with Biggar at first-five, but the playmaker silenced the critics with a man-of-the-match performance.  

Biggar was named in the 10 jersey, replacing New Zealand-born playmaker Gareth Anscombe tore his ACL during last week's defeat. 

"I thought he played well and we were positive in the way we wanted to play," said Gatland.

"I don't know about any former Welsh player. Was he really old and played 50 odd years ago in the 1970s? That probably does explain a few things."

With Wales now the top-ranked team, England coach Eddie Jones said they should be favourites to win the tournament, which starts next month in Japan. 

"When you go to number one, you're favourites," said Australian Jones.

"It was a fantastic World Cup prep game for us. We found out a little bit about ourselves.

"We had to work hard to get back into the game. We had a number of difficult situations - some of them we handled really well and some of them we didn't handle well."


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