Rugby

'A Woman Was In Tears, 'It's The Last Time You'll Walk Off The Carton House Pitch'

'A Woman Was In Tears, 'It's The Last Time You'll Walk Off The Carton House Pitch'

Saturday's World Cup warm-up game against Wales will be Rory Best's final appearance at the Aviva Stadium.

The Ireland captain intends to retire from the game following the tournament.

"It's not something I've given a lot of thought about," Best said while sitting beside defence coach Andy Farrell at a team announcement press conference on Thursday.

It wasn't until I walked off the pitch today and there's always a few of the same faces that greet us coming off the training pitch. There was one woman in tears, she was saying, 'It's the last time you'll walk off the Carton House pitch'.

I hadn't given that any thought. For me, it's about focusing on the next game. After the game, the realisation that it's the last one at the Aviva will hit home. It will be a big occasion when I look back upon it and my family will feel it more than I do in the build-up.

Head coach Joe Schmidt named his 31-man World Cup squad earlier this week with Best as one of three hookers in the group.

"It's a great time to be around the squad," said Best, "because you don't feel that sword is hanging over your head any more - you know that you are in and you can just get on with trying to produce the best that we can and let that bleed into two weeks on Saturday [against Scotland].

"Some of our better players sometimes are our more insecure ones. That's why they are the best: they work the hardest.

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"We know that we're never as good a people say we are and the flip side is that we know we are never as bad as people say we are.

"After the England game, we were more disappointed than anyone. I know a lot was written but I can tell you the biggest disappointment was within the team room in Carton House. We just made sure that we got a few things addressed which weren't going the way we wanted them to.

"We lost a few lineouts against England but you can repair them easily, the most disappointing thing was how we then gave up the next moment after that, the next moment.

"Itoje's try was the biggest example of that: we lost a lineout and then we let then set a phase up and score relatively easy under the posts. We were not focused on winning the next moment and getting the upper hand back with our actions. "

Ireland have named a strong team to play Wales on Saturday with Johnny Sexton starting his first international game in nearly six months.

Farrell, who will take over from Schmidt as head coach after the World Cup, said that all 31 players were fit and available for selection to face Wales.

Like Sexton, the game will also see Keith Earls's first appearance for Ireland since the Six Nations.

"He's fine," said Farrell.

"He hit his highest speed score in training today as he was going to score a try in the corner, which delighted us all."

Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

See Also: Ireland Name Strong Team To Face Wales In Final Warm-Up Game

PJ Browne
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