Best insists Ireland can bounce back if lessons are learned

Picture: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Rory Best is confident Ireland will provide a vibrant challenge to world champions New Zealand at the Aviva on Sunday.

The Irish hooker acknowledged that last week’s display against Australia was unacceptable but believes the mistakes they made won’t be repeated.

“I think it’s going to be really tough. Mentally it’s going to be a challenge. But I think when you look back and let the dust settle on that game — and we’ve been through it — I think it was very frustrating because we created a lot. We don’t normally concede many tries and we didn’t concede many kickable penalties, so you’d have assumed that we could have done well.

“It was just disappointing to concede four tries in the manner we did, so from that point of view we’ve had a look at it and a lot of the stuff that we did wrong on Saturday is fixable.

“A big thing was the scrum; we talked early in the week about physically dominating them there and laying down a marker and we didn’t get that right at all.”

Best assumed part responsibility for that downside: “I don’t think I can stand here and say that was us scrummaging to the best of our ability. We have things to fix from that.

“From the very first scrum they hit us and that took us back a little bit. Now you can argue they hit and chased a bit which they’re saying isn’t allowed any more, but still, if we’d got our hit right, they wouldn’t have been able to hit and chase.

“This Irish scrum has come a long way from the earlier days when it was just literally required to get the ball in and out and away.”

Best bemoaned Ireland’s failure to score when they went for broke midway through the second half: “At 25-15 we went to the corner, we won the lineout and then we allowed them to disrupt it. That could have been a massive game-changer for us. If we had scored there it would have been totally game on.

“I think when you look at periods of the [Australia] game we were able to control it, we were able to turn them but then we just coughed the ball up.

“They had a very good back three, but we probably flattered them because we didn’t close them down, and we didn’t hit and stick in our tackles.”

Best hopes he and his colleagues can now bring provincial form into theinternational arena and go toe to toe with the All Blacks.

“We’ve got to take control; I think that’s obviously the requirement when you’re playing a top, top team. New Zealand have come off the back of a long season and they’re just able to tune in and do it.

“When you’re playing with your provinces you’re able to do it because you’re playing week in, week out. We need to adapt more quickly at that.”


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