“He is the best leader this country has ever had”

A busy week of quotes from sport and the media, collected here by JANINE SELF

Richie McCaw lifts the Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks' first win of the trophy since 1987

“Gee mate, I’m just shagged” Richie McCaw‘s first words in interview after leading New Zealand, just, to win the Rugby World Cup, beating France 8-7.

“That was probably the toughest 80 minutes of our lives” Keven Mealamu, one of the winning All Black side which suffered a string of injuries to key players through the tournament and in the final itself.

“You can’t go down to the chemist’s and get a captain over the counter. He is the best leader this country has ever had” Graham Henry, All Blacks coach, pays tribute to McCaw, who had played through much of the tournament with serious injury.

“France were simply magnificent, from the moment they advanced on the haka in an arrow-shaped formation with the captain Thierry Dusautoir at the front, they defied every prediction that they would be a soft touch. They were resolute, unyielding and hell-bent on taking the game to New Zealand in the best World Cup final ever” Mick Cleary‘s immediate report for the Telegraph website.

“It’s only right for the team to move on. There will be changes, maybe in management and definitely in some of the match-day 22, and if England want to start planning for a successful World Cup here in four years’ time, then it is my belief that they should be appointing a new captain from February to see the team right the way through to 2015” Lewis Moody, the England captain, announces his retirement from international rugby, taking some responsibility for his team’s off-the-field behaviour.

“The real Mario is coming now and it isn’t the same Mario as last year. This is down to me because it is me that changed my life. Well, I didn’t change my life, but things like I don’t live in town any more. I’m outside now, so it’s more quiet. I try to stay at home more. Maybe I’ll stay in now with my family, my brother or girlfriend” Mario Balotelli in the run-up to the Manchester derby and before he “accidentally” let off a firework in his bathroom at his new home.

“Why Always Me?” Message on Balotelli’s T-shirt, revealed to the crowd after he scored the first of his two goals in City’s 6-1 demolition of United at Old Trafford. Balotelli was booked for the stunt.

“It’s the worst result in my history, ever. Even as a player I don’t think I ever lost 6-1. It’s an incredible disappointment” Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager.

Audley Harrison in Strictly Come Dancing, where some think he has already demonstrated better footwork than in his entire pro boxing career

“I tell you, Audley, I’m sitting here giving you a standing ovation” Len Goodman, judge on Strictly Come Dancing, demonstrates that former Olympic superheavyweight champion Audley Harrison’s career continues to be full of contradictions outside the ring.

“I knew I didn’t have the top-end speed, I didn’t have that yesterday, but I knew I had the strength” Victoria Pendleton after winning the keirin at the European track cycling championships, just a day after being knocked out in her better event, the sprint.

“We have had difficulty getting the company to listen to us. There needs to be decisive action in terms of holding people to account. Responsibility needs to be taken at a senior level” Edward Mason, secretary of the the ethical investment advisory group of the Church of England, owners of $6 million-worth of News Corp shares, attending Rupert Murdoch’s company’s annual meeting in Los Angeles.

“Your investments haven’t been that great” Murdoch interrupting Mason as he spoke to a motion to oust the chairman.

“If my concerns are founded then this company is going to experience even more litigation in the future than it faces now” Tom Watson MP, who attended the News Corp meeting. Murdoch, who personally controls 40 per cent of the votes, survived the move to unseat him.

“There are a number of overseas-owned clubs already talking about bringing about the avoidance of promotion and relegation in the Premier League. If we have four or five more new owners, that could happen. You’ll find that with American owners and you’ll find that with some of the Asian owners as well. If you look at sport all around the world and you look at sport owners trying to work out how to invest and make money, you’ll find that most of them like the idea of franchises” Richard Bevan, chief of the League Managers’ Association, speaking at the Professional Players’ Federation conference in London.

“I think that would be absolute suicide for the rest of the league, particularly the teams in the Championship. You might as well lock the doors” Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of American-owned Manchester United.

“Maybe there is some insecurity or feelings of inferiority driving these ideas. Maybe they don’t have the confidence to run a successful club. Maybe they are scared of going down. All I would say is that if they don’t like our system and our rules, they should go somewhere else. English football was a first-class operation before the foreign owners came and it will still be first-class when they have gone. If they don’t like it then they should get out” Ken Bates, chairman of Leeds United.

Villas-Boas takes issue with the fourth official at Loftus Road, where nine-man Chelsea outplayed QPR for an hour but failed to score in the 1-0 defeat

“I feel the FA came to hush me down or make me not have an opinion. If so, they picked the wrong person. There’s no way I can be like that. If I didn’t have an opinion, I’d cease to exist. It sounds really bad when you say it, as it makes you think of Nazi Germany. But it is a propaganda machine. Social media is a propaganda machine” Joey Barton of QPR, Twitter king.

“Anyone can have a bad day but this was not a bad day for us. It was a good day for us but a bad day for the referee. Conspiracy theories can lead to bans and people calling us cry babies, so we’re not saying that. But it keeps happening” Andre Villas-Boas unhappy with Chris Foy after the referee sent off two of his Chelsea players, as QPR won the west London derby 1-0 thanks to a penalty.

“They have seen Messi as the role model. Major tournaments, especially on home soil, don’t come around very often. I think there will be a real groundswell from the players who want to be part of this” Stuart Pearce after being named manager of the 2012 Great Britain Olympic football team.

“If you look at the organisation of the whole summer, it makes life impossible for the clubs and the players.The Olympics finish in mid-August so imagine a player who has played the Euros and the Games. You think you can use him after that? It’s impossible. I usually try to give four weeks off to a player who has played a tournament. That tells you maybe I would get the players back at Christmas!” Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager, who faces the prospect of losing Jack Wilshire and Theo Walcott.

“It was the ‘basically’ that Arsene Wenger will come to regret when the Games commence. ‘For me, the Olympics is for track and field, basically,’ said the Arsenal manager, thus breaking the awful news to sailors, rowers and cyclists that they are mere extras at an athletics meet” Paul Hayward in his Saturday column for The Guardian.

“The citizens of Bradford behaved with quiet dignity and great courage. They did not harbour conspiracy theories. They buried their dead, comforted the bereaved and succoured the injured. They organised a sensible compensation scheme and moved on. They did not seek endless further inquiries” Sir Oliver Popplewell, 84, author of the report into the Bradford fire, in a letter to The Times on the Hillsborough disaster.

“What we’ve been fighting against all these years is an establishment stitch–up. It seems the establishment is still closing ranks and fighting the victims” Andy Burnham, shadow health secretary and Everton supporter.

“In Barney Ronay’s article (‘Olympic archery misses the mark’) he implies that nobody will turn up to watch this ‘decidedly minor’ event. Being a keen ‘working-class’ archer myself, I applied unsuccessfully for tickets for next year’s Olympic archery rounds. Perhaps Barney could tell me who exactly has managed to get all the tickets? Middle-class journalists, maybe?” Clive Baker, a Guardian reader, in a letter to the sports editor.

“He is very cool and very determined. He knows where he wants to go and how he wants to get there – it’s all mapped out. He has the same desire I see in Lee Westwood’s eyes. He wants to be the best, he’s not interested in second. Tom is the reason I haven’t retired. I’ll see him win a few Majors then slip off” Pete Cowen, coach to Tom Lewis, who won £365,000 and the Portugal Masters at the age of 20, just his third tournament since turning pro.

SJA WORKING LUNCH: Baroness Grey-Thompson on the 2012 London Paralympics. Thu Nov 17: click here for booking details