Monday 19 August 2019

Best wants Ireland to generate Six Nations momentum with big performance in November finale


Captain Rory Best and his Irish team-mates at yesterday’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium ahead of today’s clash with Argentina. Photo: INPHO
Captain Rory Best and his Irish team-mates at yesterday’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium ahead of today’s clash with Argentina. Photo: INPHO
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Revenge is not on Rory Best's mind as he comes face to face with Argentina once again but the Ireland captain has urged his team to finish November on a high and generate some Six Nations momentum with a win over their old foes.

Joe Schmidt's team are intent on reclaiming their title in spring and victory over the Pumas to make it an unbeaten month would be the perfect lead-in to the championship.

Best was part of the team that beat South Africa in comprehensive fashion two weeks ago, before watching from the stands as Schmidt introduced a host of new faces and the team struggled to beat Fiji.

With the side that beat the Springboks largely re-assembled, with exciting new faces Adam Byrne, James Ryan and Chris Farrell included this time, the hope is that Ireland will hit the heights they reached two weeks ago and beat the team that dumped them out of the 2015 World Cup.

While he won't get carried away with a result against the Pumas, Best wants the team to become a consistent force and reckons a win would set them in good stead for the spring.

"It gives you a little bit of confidence going in," he said.

"The flip side is what we saw less than 12 months ago, we finished what we felt was a successful autumn last year and then tripped up at the first hurdle in Scotland.

"So, when we get to February, it'll not have a lot of bearing because who knows what that will bring. For us it's about making sure that we sign off an autumn series well.

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"When we talk about World Cups, Six Nations and stuff that's way over there you lose sight of what's in front of you. It's something we've been good at, but it's also something we can get better at. Always, the here and now is important.

"The big thing for us is to show that consistency. We've asked for that consistency going forward more than any other year in my captaincy and tomorrow will be a big challenge to see if we can deliver that.

"If we can take another step down that route, then you go into the Six Nations with a bit of confidence from the performances here and also to go: 'this is what we achieve with our performances when we're consistent. Now here's another competition to take that into'."

Although he is one of five survivors from the team that lost 43-20 in Cardiff just over two years ago, Best is not using this as a revenge mission.

A veteran of five clashes with the Pumas, including the 2007 and 2015 World Cup defeats, the 35-year-old Ulster hooker knows Ireland are in for a difficult evening in front of a full house at the Aviva Stadium.

But he doesn't accept that this fixture is any feistier than the others.

"Along the way there has probably been a couple of higher-profile games, mainly World Cups, even stretching back before my time and that has probably added a little to those games," he said.

"Because they are the high-profile games, one in every four years. I think whenever you play any of the top nations, you want to beat them and you know it will be very, very difficult.

"You need to perform against them and Argentina are no different. They, over the last 10 years, have improved out of sight as a rugby nation."

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