Rory Best has explained why he doesn't sing 'Ireland's Call' before international matches, saying that he is worried that the 'emotional charge' from the pre-match song would negative impact his performance.
Best, who became the Ireland captain in 2016, stands silently during the anthem, which is played after Amhrán na bhFiann for home internationals and is the sole anthem played in away fixtures.
The Ulster legend is one of a number of players who don't sing one or both of the anthems, and speaking to Darren Cave on The Rugby Pod, he gave his reason for not belting out Ireland's Call before games.
Best recalled his days playing for Ireland Schools and how singing Ireland's Call got him too pumped up before matches, which caused his lineout throwing and other aspects of his performance to be off.
"You get so emotionally charged for it," he said.
"And Ireland's Call comes on that you've heard so many times in the old Lansdowne Road or watching on TV, and you're belting it out.
"I can't go into a game, because it's so emotive to me, Ireland's Call. And actually, even the tail end of the Irish national anthem, you know the way you get that build up for that crescendo at the end. They're memories I have from going to the old Lansdowne Road to watch, this build up, and then the massive cheer, and then Ireland's Call coming on.
"The problem is then, I worry that it's going to happen in a big game. That we're going to kick off against the All Blacks, Beauden Barrett's going to catch it, kick it out, and then I'm fully charged, trying to focus in. And it is such a core skill. It's a bit like goalkicking, you have to get your heart rate down, you have to focus, get your breathing back, and focus for that split second to throw the perfect throw and that's just why I did it. I don't know whether it would affect me as much now, but I'm not prepared to take the chance."
Best is currently in Irish camp preparing for the World Cup in Japan, and could feature in the second warm-up game in Twickenham against England on August 24.
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