Tuesday 12 December 2017

Rory Best: Today was about righting wrongs and giving the fans something to get behind

Tom Rooney

Ireland captain Rory Best has attributed today’s lob-sided victory over Italy to the eradication of errors that have pockmarked previous games in the campaign.

Against what could be politely termed as an obliging Italy side, Ireland ran in nine tries in front of a buoyant Aviva Stadium on their way to recording a first victory since beating France in the World Cup last October.

After drawing with Wales on the opening day, Ireland have suffered consecutive losses to France and England, where a clear lack of efficiency and, indeed, confidence has proven pivotal.

In beating the Azzurri 58-15, Ireland demonstrated what type of levels they can attain when playing with the tempo and ruthlessness demonstrated in winning the previous two Six Nations.

Best, who was celebrating his first win since succeeding Paul O’Connell as skipper, claimed this afternoon’s performance was rooted in  rectifying recent shortcomings.

“I think you could see from the off the intensity and the pace we wanted to play at,” he told RTÉ Sport after the win.

“And there were a lot of the silly things we were doing to date in the Championship that we went a long way to put right today.

“Look, we know first and foremost that we need do the simple things well. There’s no real secret to it; we just were better at keeping the ball, clearing rucks and, ultimately, we were better in their 22, which is something we’ve worked long and hard at.”

Furthermore, the hooker said that the Irish squad were conscious of lifting the mood of fans and that the deluge of scores were testament to what the team can do when applying the correct fundamentals.

“We talked during the week about the atmosphere we can create here. People come here to support us but we’ve got to give them something to get behind.

“It’s something that we know that is a big part our game and that we haven’t fulfilled our expectations in to date and that’s the encouraging thing that we were able to keep the ball against Italy and get some scores.”

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