Tuesday 16 January 2018

Rory Best: England will try to destroy our maul

Ireland hooker Rory Best believes England will do everything to nullify the threat of John Plumtree's rolling maul which has been devastating so far in the Six Nations.

The Ulster front row has been in fine form in the tournament along with his forward companions but is expecting a sterner examination from England on Saturday afternoon in Twickenham.

"We’re definitely more comfortable using it(the rolling maul). We’ve worked hard on it," he told reporters at Carton House

"The flip side is nobody expected us to do it, we’ve done it successfully and people will now be able to predict what we’re doing. So we need to be more accurate than ever. It’s a challenge against a pack who’ll expect us to be quite good in the maul. So we have to be able to match those expectations.

"(Rowntree) is going to be drumming into them, as a physical Leicester front-row, that’s what you expect from his players.

"He’ll want to make a point of destroying our maul. It’s about physical dominance from him, if you dominate up front that’s how you win games.

"That’s the message he’ll give. It’s technical but also a mindset.

"Forward domination wins games. Having seen England recently, that’s what they pride game on.

"Scrum and lineout very well. We know we need to do at worst match that, to win games away you need to dominate that.

"Toughest forwards we’ll come up against in the Six Nations. It’s a challenge we want, to pit ourselves against the best. This England eight is right up there."

Best believes that no matter how the game pans out, it will go down to the wire.

"Most of the time when you win away it’s a one-score game," he added.

"We know it will come down to last coupe of plays, impact of our bench. Our bench has been very good, it will be used again. It well need mettle and resolve, we’ve been building that. We’re up for it."

Ireland manager Mick Kearney revealed that Tommy Bowe and Luke Fitzgerald could be ready to return to play this weekend having trained at the weekend and if they get some game time they may feature against Italy and France.

Isaac Boss is following return to play protocols after he was the victim of a nasty tip tackle on Friday night.

Jonathan Sexton and Donnacha Ryan are fully fit having come through their games at the weekend.

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