Friday 22 February 2019

Rory Best says Joe Schmidt's legacy will endure long after his departure

Rory Best, left, and Tadhg Furlong ahead of the Ireland rugby captains run
Rory Best, left, and Tadhg Furlong ahead of the Ireland rugby captains run
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

The Ireland head coach will announce a decision on his future beyond next year's World Cup at the end of the November internationals and if he chooses to leave the position his captain believes there is enough talent within the set-up for the success he has enjoyed to continue.

In his time in charge, Schmidt has led the team to famous firsts against South Africa and New Zealand, three Six Nations titles including last year's Grand Slam and a series win over Australia.

But Best says the coach's achievements run far beyond silverware.

"What Joe has done for Irish rugby, not just the national team but Leinster, is evident and plain to see in the silverware," the captain said after leading the team on their final training session before tomorrow's meeting with Argentina.

"It speaks for itself. No matter what Joe does, he has changed Irish rugby, how we perceive performance and our preparation.

"His legacy will obviously be silverware and what Leinster have now become and what Ireland are pushing towards becoming and have achieved.

"It will also be about the coaches that he eventually brings through in years to come. We maybe see a bit of it now with Paulie (O'Connell) over in Stade but you will probably start to see that more when guys who have had five, six or seven, 10 years involved with him starting to retire and take up that side of the game.

"That will probably be the lasting legacy. From a player's point of view, and even from an Irish rugby fan's point of view, you want to see the best coaches staying where they are at and he is the best coach I have ever had with.

"He is one of the best coaches in the world. That's who you want in charge of the national team. He has to do what is right for him and if that is a change then his legacy will go on longer than just the silverware that sits in the trophy cabinets.

"When you look at our coaching staff there is that (replacing from with in) option, massively.

"Those guys take a lot, Simon (Easterby) and Faz (Andy Farrell) took a lot of the preparation last week (in Chicago) and you saw what happened there.

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30 January 2018; Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby during an Ireland rugby squad press conference at Carton House in Maynooth, Co Kildare. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

"Simon (above) has obviously been a head coach at Scarlets. Faz has coached at Saracens who aren't bad.

"He has coached with England and he has been a massive part of our success here. So there is plenty of options and plenty of good young coaches around.

"That is the next big step, not just for Ireland but for the provinces, to bring through Irish coaches and not have an over-reliance on foreign coaches because there are plenty there. We've just got to bring them through the pathways and let them flourish."

Best leads the team for the 27th team tomorrow. At 36, there has been some talk that he is under pressure for his place but he says Schmidt never brought up the topic of his leadership before naming him in the squad.

"Yeah, we didn;t really have that much of a conversation. There was a squad named," he said.

"We always said that if there was a conversation to have then we would have it but not being in Australia we didn't get that chance like we normally do after a campaign.

"I chat to him fairly regularly and it was never really mentioned. It was all about planning for this season."

Jordan Larmour has stated that he wants Ireland to get to the No 1 slot in the world and they could do that this month if results go their way.

"We've been well down the rankings at times, and whenever you are down there you want to climb up," Best said.

"But you don't necessarily see yourself there.

"You've got to make sure you bring consistency, every week you've got to find a way to get better. Sometimes it's not even half a per cent, but at this level that can make a big difference.

"So if we were to get to number one in the world it would mean we would have done a lot of things along the way right, and that we've done everything we can this week, and then after this weekend is over we'll look ahead to the week after.

"The ranking is something that comes about because of the way we perform and that is a consequence of how we prepare.

"If we were to get to No 1 in the world it would mean that we have got a lot of things along the way right and that we have done everything we can this week. Once this week is over we look to the week after.

"The rankings have come about because of the way that we perform. That is a consequence of how we prepare."

The IRFU reported no fresh injury worries on the eve of the game.

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