Billy Stickland/INPHO Best leads the squad in a message to ireland U20s who will play Argentina in the World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final on Monday.
# series on the line
'The Springboks aren’t going to hand history to us, we have to take it ourselves'
The odds are against Ireland in Johannesburg this weekend, but it didn’t stop them last time.

Rory Keane reports from Johannesburg

IRELAND MUST SEIZE their chance at making history against South Africa at Ellis Park tomorrow (KO 4pm Irish time), according to Rory Best.

Last weekend’s stunning 26-20 victory at Newlands has given Joe Schmidt’s side the opportunity to seal a historic series win against the Springboks in Johannesburg.

With that in mind, it should prove a relatively easy team talk for the Ireland captain before kick-off tomorrow.

“I think motivation wise, it’s never an issue for us,” said the Ulster hooker following Ireland’s  captain’s run at Ellis Park this afternoon.

“I know if you talk to any international player, pulling on a Test jersey is special. We know, the same as last week, there’s an opportunity to create history here. We took a step forward last week in terms of being the first team to do it.

“Now, we have an opportunity to win a Test series which is unbelievably difficult to do. I think that’s probably the big driver this week is that it’s gonna take a phenomenal performance to win here because there’s a reason why so few teams come here and win a Test series and that’s because it’s hard to do.

We know the Springboks aren’t going to hand history to us, we have to take it ourselves.

“That’s going to be the tough challenge and I suppose that’s the challenge that you’re up for.”

Ireland are bracing themselves for an enormous backlash from a Boks side still hurting from a disjointed and nervy performance in the opening Test.

Allister Coetzee’s side have made no secret this week of their intention to begin the forthcoming encounter at a furious pace as they look to gain revenge for their first-ever defeat against Ireland on home soil.

“We know the Springboks are going to come out and they’re going to want to be better but we also want to make sure that in this next game that we improve our own performance,” said Best.

“Look, there’s going to be a lot of intensity and a lot of ferocity in the first 10 minutes especially and we know that and we’re going to have to as prepared as we can for that, but I don’t think in terms of any psychological advantage.

Beyond sight

“I think that we talked before the first game that we have beaten them before and that we know how to beat them. But knowing how to beat them and actually doing that are two different things. Look, we take confidence from what we achieved last week but we know that this is a different track, a different match and I’m sure we’re going to face a different Springboks side as well.”

It promises to be a big day for Tadhg Furlong who will be making his first Test start for Ireland having won his previous six caps from the bench.

The Leinster tighthead faces a baptism of fire against one of the world’s premier looseheads in Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira in one of South Africa’s most intimidating rugby stadiums.

Tadhg Furlong Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

“I know I keep referring back to the same phrase but what a place for home to get his first start against one of the toughest scrums in world rugby, one of the best looseheads in world rugby,” Best added.

“Tadhg has come on a lot since the sort of raw, every early 20-year-old that come into the squad. He’s improved beyond sight, even his experiences at the World Cup he maybe didn’t get a lot of game-time but you felt when he came back from that, he was a different player for Leinster. We’ve experienced it a few times for Ulster how good he can be. We know that’s going to have to produce one of his best performances but that’s the sort of pressure that we put on players.

Matt Healy and Andrew Trimble Billy Stickland / INPHO Andrew Trimble lets an offload go to Matt Healy. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

“We’ve freshened up the team a little bit this week. It’s about giving guys the opportunity to improve on the performances of the guys last week.  Rossy did really, really well last week.

“It’s now Tadhg’s opportunity to show that he’s learned a lot from him and he is capable of moving on to that next step and it’s where Ireland need him to go to and that’s to be challenging hard to be the starting tight-head.”

The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!

‘I’ve no plans made for the long term’ – Joe Schmidt

Leigh Halfpenny to return from nine-month injury nightmare in Toulon’s Top 14 semi-final

Analysis: Australia’s 1-3-3-1 shape looking to drag England series back

Your Voice
Readers Comments