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Uruguay players on difference between playing New Zealand and France

By Ian Cameron
The players of Uruguay are given a guard of honour by the players of New Zealand as they leave the pitch at full-time following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between New Zealand and Uruguay at Parc Olympique on October 05, 2023 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Uruguay players have said that playing New Zealand was more difficult than France, branding the All Blacks ‘the best team in the world’ after their 73-0 loss in Lyon last night.

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Uruguay pushed a second-string France close earlier in the Rugby World Cup, ultimately losing 27-12 to the hosts, but were roundly hammered last night after putting up a brave resistance in the first half of their final pool stage game.

Despite the fact that New Zealand lost the first game of the tournament to France, centre and captain Andrés Vilaseca believes that Ian Foster’s men are the best team in the world.

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“Yes, I think that’s what we saw. We have just played against the best team in the world in our fourth game,” said Vilaseca. “Fatigue, physical and mental, played a part. At times we managed to play our game.

“We put some pressure on New Zealand, with all that that involves. As the game went on New Zealand started finding space and it made things much more difficult for us. But this is the best team in the world and that is the difference with the other teams we played against.

“Against New Zealand, I feel proud. It’s the end of a cycle for me. I don’t know if this team will qualify for the next World Cup. It gets harder every time. You never want to lose but we can be proud of what we did and the passion that we generated. We have nothing to feel guilty about. We have had a good World Cup.

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“I think we had an amazing World Cup. Playing France, the host nation, Italy, Namibia – we won – and now New Zealand, playing the best team in the world. It’s about learning and trying to give our best and trying to grow the sport in Uruguay. It has been amazing.”

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Winger Gaston Mieres was in agreement with his captain, saying it was more difficult to play against the style of rugby that the All Blacks play.

“They play a different game, a different style of rugby. I think it is tougher to play the way New Zealand plays, they just use a lot of options and you have to be really, really focused and when you are not 100 per cent focused, you suffer.

“We started really well against France, we prepared that game really well and today, we also prepared well, but we couldn’t hold it.

“The intensity that they put on the game and the skills they have, they play a different level and a different pace that we are not very used to. But it was a great game to be part of. We started really well. We played the first 20 minutes with a good intensity and we put them under pressure. Then we couldn’t hold the ball and it was really tough. But really happy to face them in a World Cup.

“We could have scored, we were inches out. We did pretty good things and I think we have to be proud of what we have done.
“You cannot stop, you have to keep on playing with intensity and at some point we couldn’t hold it. That was the big difference.”

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