Sunday 20 August 2017

Rory Best's passionate rally call sums up why he is Ireland captain

Ireland captain Rory Best
Ireland captain Rory Best

Rory Best will be playing for loved ones near and far when he leads out Ireland for their Six Nations opener with Scotland today (2.25pm kick-off).

Skirting the loaded issue of anthems and "Ireland's Call", the skipper revealed his own motivations in the moments before representing Ireland in such a huge contest.

"I think everyone plays rugby for very different reasons," the 34-year-old said.

"Everyone has their own reasons, why they do it, why they go through the stuff that you have to go through to get to the Test arena.

"Like this weekend, for me as captain, it's important to draw on that. It might be memories of being a kid and going down to the old Lansdowne Road and hearing the anthems, it could be a loved one at home, a loved one in the crowd, it can be anything.

"I think you draw on that and bring that.

"When it gets darkest in rugby, that's what you draw on, it makes you go that extra yard further than you think you can and that's what we're going to need against Scotland."

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Best is also acutely aware of the challenge ahead as Ireland enter a partisan arena packed with Scotland fans.

"Coming to Murrayfield, we know Scotland will come out and there will be a lot of emotion. One of the great things in world rugby is the playing of Flower of Scotland and the emotion that evokes in them," said Rory Best after taking his team on their Captain's Run at Murrayfield yesterday.

"We need to make sure that we don't lose those early battles, we don't lose those moments early in the game because they are more emotionally charged than us.

"We have to make sure that we appreciate we're playing for Ireland, we're pulling on a green jersey and, look, we have to be 100pc disciplined but we also can't be afraid to let out a little emotion ourselves."

SCOTLAND - Stuart Hogg; Sean Maitland, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Tommy Seymour; Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw (capt); Allan Dell, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson; Richie Gray, Jonny Gray; Ryan Wilson, Hamish Watson, Josh Strauss. Replacements: Ross Ford, Gordon Reid, Simon Berghan, Tim Swinson, John Barclay, Ali Price, Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett.

IRELAND - Rob Kearney; Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo; Paddy Jackson, Conor Murray; Jack McGrath, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong; Iain Henderson, Devin Toner; CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Niall Scannell, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Ian Keatley, Tommy Bowe.

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