Wednesday 23 October 2019

'It's an Irish thing, we're at the top of the tree or at the bottom of the barrel' - Brian O'Driscoll backs Best

Rory Best looks dejected after an off-day for the Irish lineout in Twickenham. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Rory Best looks dejected after an off-day for the Irish lineout in Twickenham. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Brian O'Driscoll has backed beleaguered Irish captain Rory Best to turn his form around after a dismal day in Twickenham during last Saturday's record defeat to England.

However, Jamie Heaslip has warned that it is "squeaky bum" time for a number of Joe Schmidt's squad players, pointing out today could be a pivotal moment for many of them in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"People are quick to forget what Rory Best has done in situations over the past three years, beating the All Blacks," said O'Driscoll.

"People can be fickle. A player of his class can turn around but he does need a big performance to turn it around.

"The players certainly trust in Joe. The formula in the last five years has been like nothing we've ever seen in Irish Rugby. We've been beating teams for the first time in our history. It's an Irish thing, we're at the top of the tree or at the bottom of the barrel.

"We have to deal where we are, hopefully put in a good couple of performances before meeting Scotland in the World Cup."

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Jamie Heaslip believes this is the best squad Ireland have ever sent to the World Cup but has warned that it is "squeaky bum time" for some players after the

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"You'll have a certain amount of players who will know they are on the plane and trying to get themselves ready while others are in no-man's land," Heaslip told Ireland AM.

"They need to focus on the detail and you need to fit into Joe's system in order to stand out.

"You need to take every opportunity and not mess up. Otherwise, he will see that and if you can't do what he wants you won't make the plane. Today will be a big big day in camp and it's squeaky bum time for a lot of players.

"The leadership group didn't play to their standard against England and it will show their quality ff they can bounce back. Nobody is safe on that plane. I said before there were 25 who were safe but that's down to 23.

"But there's another opportunity this week. This is the best squad collectively we've ever had. They're going to Japan to win the competition. But they need to focus on every moment."

Also, in a dramatic change from normal convention, coach Joe Schmidt will speak to the media two days ahead of schedule later this afternoon in their team base Carton House.

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