Thursday 21 September 2017

'Lions will need to attack the All Blacks and score tries to beat them' - Rory Best

British & Irish Lions Rory Best
British & Irish Lions Rory Best

Andrew Baldock

Ireland captain Rory Best admits it is difficult to beat world champions New Zealand without scoring tries.

Best will head to New Zealand in 11 days' time as part of the British and Irish Lions squad, just six months after he skippered Ireland to a famous victory over the All Blacks in Chicago.

And while 104 times-capped Ulster hooker Best says there is "more than one way to skin a cat," he has stressed the importance of front-foot rugby during an eagerly awaited three-Test series.

"We had a belief that we could win," said Best, recalling Ireland's 40-29 triumph, which included them posting five tries.

"We had a shorter week - one Thursday together, maybe three training sessions before we played them, and we had that belief to beat them and a mentality to attack. It was all about going out to attack them.

"This modern-day All Blacks side is so difficult to beat. They have so many attacking weapons, and they will always score tries.

"We found that out a couple of weeks later in Dublin (New Zealand beat Ireland 21-9), that if you do not score tries against them it is very hard to beat them.

"You have to put pressure on them, getting in their faces, quick line speed, putting them under pressure. That is key. They will do it to you. This is the highest level - we have to put pressure on them.

"There is more than one way to skin a cat. Whatever way we go, it is important everyone buys into it and adds something to it. Maybe we will do it slightly differently to Chicago."

The Lions have only claimed one Test series triumph in their long history against New Zealand, and that was 46 years ago, which underlines the degree of difficulty facing Best and company.

"They are back-to-back world champions, and to beat them will be very hard," he added.

"They are the best for a reason. To beat them as a national side is difficult, but to come together as a best of four nations will be a real challenge.

"Personally, I have had career highs and lows, and to go on this tour and achieve something would be very special.

"They are beatable. Gats (Lions head coach Warren Gatland) said it from the off, he didn't want anyone on the plane who doesn't believe we can win.

"The Irish guys have done it, but we have a lot of players in this squad who are used to winning, and that can only help."

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