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Rory Best reveals how he and Johnny Sexton made the call to close the roof in Cardiff

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Jonathan Sexton, left, and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland during their captain's run at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Jonathan Sexton, left, and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland during their captain's run at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Jonathan Sexton, left, and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland during their captain's run at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Irish captain Rory Best has said that it wasn’t an easy decision to assent to the roof closing in the Principality Stadium tomorrow night but revealed that the expected forecast of rain left them with little option.

Coach Joe Schmidt ultimately allowed thrower Best and principal kicker Jonathan Sexton to confirm their agreement.

And the Ulster hooker believes that, after their game-plan against France was compromised by the weather, Ireland can raise the roof with their wide game as they step up their RBS 6 Nations title bid.

“There is rain forecast. Joe asked myself and Johnny and it was about taking out the risk of wind and rain. It wasn’t an easy decision but that was the main reasoning.

“Elements of our game against France were compromised by the weather so we are comfortable with the decision.

“Both sides like to play with width so it takes the weather out of it. Everyone talks about the game in the northern hemisphere but this will be up there with any occasion I’ve had in the southern hemisphere.

“When you come here, you know it is going to be loud regardless of the roof. The atmosphere is electric, it is one of the best stadia in the world.

“If you feel you are shouting in a normal game, we may have to scream tomorrow night. You have to rely on instinct as well, read each other, and we have been together a long time.

“We have a plan to deal with the noise, we can adapt. Even at the Aviva, sometimes it is loud and it is hard to speak after 12 phases, instinct comes in and communication goes out the window.

“We know what the atmosphere is like in these games, we have played in a World Cup game here with the roof closed. We won’t know until 10pm if we have prepared well enough.

“The favourites tag doesn’t affect us, we will focus on our own game. We have prepared very well and we are in a good place.

“There is pressure on all sides during these final two weeks and we want to keep the winning sequence going. We know if we lose the championship title is dead for us.

“There are nerves about but all the build-up has been completed. There is apprehension but also excitement, no more nervous that normal. It is a big, tough game and that brings extra nerves itself without worrying about the ramifications down the line.

“It is a very good Welsh side, the spine of the team is strong, from hooker through to Alan Wyn Jones, the back-row, whoever they have there, and the half-backs.

“They expect to win, like us, so there is pressure on them too. We play each other all the time so we know how good they are.”

Online Editors


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