Rory Best: It’s far too dangerous to be dreaming about beating New Zealand

Ireland captain Rory Best has warned of the dangers of dreaming of an historic first victory over the All Blacks tonight (8pm Irish time). 

Rory Best: It’s far too dangerous to be dreaming about beating New Zealand

Best has the chance to become the first Ireland skipper to lead his side to victory over New Zealand following a painful run of 28 Test matches with the current world champions dating back to 1905.

Yet while he is aware of the opportunity to make some unique personal history on his 98th Test appearance, the hooker, who captained his country to a first win in South Africa in Cape Town this summer, believes daydreaming of glory can only hamper Ireland’s hopes of success at Soldier Field.

“Of course it crosses your mind. You know, I’ve grown up playing rugby since I was no age, it’s been rugby and farming.

“I’ve been to All Blacks games as a spectator since I was young and yeah, look, it does cross your mind very briefly that you could be the first one to captain the side that goes down in history, but that’s the same for everyone.

“They could be a part of that squad and and even being the first captain to lead a team to win in South Africa, it won’t really be until you’ve retired and you look back on some of your best memories that that will really come.

“We won that first Test in South Africa and it was, ‘Yeah, great, we’ve done that, we’ve created history, but what’s next?’.

“And I think when we live in this world where you have to keep looking forward or somebody passes you out, you don’t really have time to dwell on that.

“There are small moments when you think, ‘wouldn’t it be great to have that on your CV’, but you’ve got to keep coming back to the process and look, it would be a really special and monumental thing for me to captain that team, but there are so many nuts and bolts involved that if I started thinking about myself only, then we’ll fall short.

“And given the quality New Zealand have, we’d probably fall short by quite a margin.”

Ireland will not lack for belief in front of a sell-out crowd of 61,500 at the home of the Chicago Bears with Irish supporters expected to form the majority of the attendance for what is a unique occasion in Irish Rugby history.

The world champions may have played seven times since Ireland last played together in Port Elizabeth on June 25, extending their winning streak to 18 Tests since their last defeat in August 2015.

Yet Best said Ireland would not be cowed by the All Blacks’ status as hot favourites and their billing as the greatest rugby side in history.

“We firmly believe in ourselves. We respect them and you’ve got to respect what they’re doing and the way they’re playing rugby and have been going about it but we don’t fear them.

“Under Joe (Schmidt), we definitely feel we can beat anyone. Since I’ve come in under this I suppose ‘golden generation’ with Paulie and Drico and Rog, a list of people.

“We never went into any game thinking that we were gong to lose, it was a different sort of mentality that we had and this game is no different.”

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