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'We felt we prepared well, we felt we had a game-plan'

Rory Best felt Ireland had prepared well for their quarter-final clash with New Zealand, despite conceding seven tries in Tokyo.

Ireland captain Rory Best after being substituted against New Zealand.
Ireland captain Rory Best after being substituted against New Zealand.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IRELAND CAPTAIN RORY Best felt that New Zealand’s blistering start was the difference in Tokyo as Ireland suffered another World Cup quarter-final exit.

New Zealand scored two tries in the opening 20 minutes as they dominated territory, with Ireland never managing to settle in a game they eventually lost 46-14, conceding a total of seven tries. 

“Look, the All Blacks were fantastic tonight,” said Best.

“We felt we prepared well. All week we felt we had a game-plan, we felt we had enough in our army to beat them. They just stared off, came out of the blocks hard at us, put us on the back-foot, and like good sides do, they never let us get off that again. 

“I think they were just really really clinical. They didn’t let us get on the front-foot, and this is a front-foot momentum game, especially in knock-out rugby. The boys that are here will have to look back at this and they’ll have to see how to get better.

“But just for this right now you have to give enormous credit to the All Blacks, they were fantastic tonight.”

Ireland’s World Cup exit also brought the curtain down on Best’s international career, following 14 years and 124 caps in the green jersey. Best had announced his intention to retire after the World Cup before the tournament, with head coach Joe Schmidt also stepping down from his position.

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“Look, I’ve loved every minute of it,” Best added.

“Like I said the crowd have been fantastic, the support that I’ve got from home, from the fans when we’re at home, when we’re away, my team-mates, the coaching staff, and probably in particular Joe as well, who is moving on.

“I think he brought Irish rugby and probably my game in particular to a different level when he came here, and a lot of credit must go to him and just a massive thanks to him, and I suppose good luck to Kieran [Read] and the All Blacks next week.”

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