Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

Rory Best: 'It’s exactly how you would plan your last home game here'

The captain was thrilled with how Ireland ‘attacked’ the contest.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Sean Farrell reports from the Aviva Stadium

RORY BEST WILL most likely have another day, a warm August day, to formally bid farewell to Lansdowne Road after something approaching 120 caps for Ireland.

But today marked his final Six Nations outing on this stage, and he bowed out in style.

The hooker will turn 37 before leading Ireland to the World Cup in Japan this September, and after that tournament he is set to hang up his boots.

During the bonus point-win over France, he not only led Ireland by scoring the opening try, but his fingerprints were all over the breakdown and the line-out remained tidy with only one loss from 17 efforts.

“It wasn’t something that I’d overly thought about until yesterday,” said Best post-match, deep under the Aviva stands, “then over the last 24 hours, it’s strange to think this is the last time you hop on a team bus to go to a Six Nations game here.

“I think in terms of the result and the performance it’s exactly how you’d plan your last home game here, that’s how you’d want it.

“The intensity that we played with, especially in the first half. I was delighted to be a part of that.”

Rory Best celebrates winning with his children Ben, Richie and Penny Best heads for the tunnel with his children Ben, Richie and Penny. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Lest anyone think Best was ready to get misty-eyed as he pondered the end of his Test run, he leaned towards his head coach and joked: “it was mainly Joe. He got very emotional and made it clear I wasn’t allowed to keep going after he left.”

Best never quite sits comfortably when speaking purely about himself. As he says above, he was ‘delighted to be a part’ of Ireland’s four-try display. Delighted too, that the team rallied their performance to lay a solid platform for playmakers Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton to work from.

“We’re a really tight-knit bunch and we’ve been as frustrated as anyone with some of the stuff in the first three games,” said Best.

“We’ve talked about was taking individual responsibility. There’s been a lot of criticism aimed at a couple of our players, but when we look at the ways we can help them and (the way we’ve) not been taking the pressure off them in the way we’ve been setting up in our attack shape. That was stuff we needed to do.

We just wanted to go out and attack today, whether we had the ball or not.”

“We’re at our best when we attack situations and we definitely played within ourselves (previously) it was nice to see us taking a big step towards what we expect from one another.”

He’ll be missed when he finally relinquishes his claim on that jersey.

About the author:

Sean Farrell

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel