Conor Murray Pinpoints Why Rory Best Is Still The Man To Captain Ireland

Conor Murray Pinpoints Why Rory Best Is Still The Man To Captain Ireland

Saturday was a tough day at the office for Rory Best. A month out from his last World Cup - the final games of his rugby career - and the Ireland captain's form has never been worse.

Against England, his part in a game which left all in green red-faced came acutely under the microscope.

The lineout, down the years such a stable platform for Ireland, wobbled and collapsed. Six of Best's throws were robbed by England as all parts involved malfunctioned.

"A lot of people will probably blame the hooker because the majority of people probably don't understand the working parts of a lineout," said Conor Murray, speaking at the launch of the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup.

The lineout's not just down to the hooker.

You've seen them in meetings with the hookers, lineout callers, lineout jumpers and trying to figure out what went wrong because it usually is such a solid platform for us.

I don't know how many turnovers we gave them off lineouts - it just made it a long day. Rory has been through things like this before and it's only about what's happening inside our four walls in camp and how we're going to deal with it.

Beyond the set piece, there are also questions about Best's contribution around the pitch. In that place of poor form, being the leader is a tough gig.

"That's why I respect him so much because you wouldn't know that this week," said Murray.


"He's mature enough, experienced enough, to deal with that himself and he's still doing all is individual work like any other player, but he's also trying to drag everyone else out of this hole as well. That's why there's so much faith in him as a captain because it's not always going to be rosy.

"There's going to be times when performances aren't going quite to plan and you've still got to lead. That's why he's there and that's why he's the man for the job.

"Besty is well able for it and if it was someone else, it could affect them differently and they could go into their shell. Rory will come out and perform like he always does.

"He always bounces back. He gets it, he knows what people are going to be saying but he's wise enough to know what actually went wrong and the working parts of it.

"I'm sure he won't be happy with how the lineout functioned and even the callers will probably think it was their fault. They'll get together as a group and get it right."

Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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