Sunday 22 April 2018

Best urges Ireland to grasp opportunity

Ireland captain Rory Best Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland captain Rory Best Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ireland captain Rory Best has urged his team to seize their chance and win a three-Test series over the Springboks in Johannesburg this afternoon.

The Ulster hooker led his side through their final preparations at Ellis Park yesterday, and coach Joe Schmidt has reported no injury worries for their meeting with South Africa.

Fourteen-man Ireland claimed a first away win over the Boks with a 26-20 victory at Newlands last week and now have two chances to follow the Lions and the All Blacks into the history books by claiming a three-game duel on South African soil.

Best knows it won't be easy, but believes his team have what it takes to clinch the series.

"There's a reason why so few teams come here and win a Test series and that's because it's hard to do," he said.

"For us it's about making sure that we get ourselves right, we do the same homework if not more homework than we did last week on the Springboks and we make sure that we're in a position (to win).

"We know the Springboks aren't going to hand history to us, we are have to take it ourselves.

"That's going to be the tough challenge and I suppose that's the challenge that you're up for."

After losing CJ Stander to a red card and Robbie Henshaw to the sin-bin for 10 minutes last weekend, Best wants his side to keep their cool as they face an expected Springbok backlash after the hosts endured a week of criticism in the local press.

"We can't control what they're going to do but I think we can anticipate that the first 20 minutes are going to be particularly fiery," he said.

"We have to make sure that we match fire with fire, but we do keep our discipline and that we make sure that we're smart and we work our way through the parts of the game that they get their tails up and get the crowd behind them.

"We have huge respect for what South Africa are going to bring. Any team that comes here to play, they have to win the physical battle. It's probably more so here than anywhere else in the world and certainly as a pack that has to be our focus."

Irish Independent

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