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Preparation Key Again For Best And Ireland

Preparation Key Again For Best And Ireland

Hooker Rory Best says there is no fear of complacency creeping in as Ireland look to extend their current winning run to 11 Tests against Wales next weekend.

“Under this coaching set-up and with the players we have that’s quickly put to bed. We were pretty hard on ourselves in the review of the England game. We all know that we’ve been in Ireland teams before, and it’s something that we’ve said ever since Joe (Schmidt) came in that we’ve got to be more consistent,” said Rory Best, who has scored two of his eight international tries against the Welsh.

“So when you put a real emphasis on being more consistent team you have to put stuff like that out of your head. You’ve got to get through this week and make sure you’ve done everything. You’ve got to do the same and more in preparation than you did for the England game.”

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Wales have bounced back impressively from that opening round defeat to England at the Millennium Stadium, winning on the road against both Scotland and France. Best feels their performance in Paris showed they are hugely determined to regain the Championship crown they last won in 2013.

“Wales are a quality outfit. You just have to look down the teams they have picked. They made a few changes for the French game, freshened things up a little bit and they really took France apart up front which in Paris is no mean feat.

“You look through the spine of their team and from my point of view, up front, they have some real quality, experienced players in that pack.”

Best has experience of playing under Wales head coach Warren Gatland during the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour in Australia where he also trained with and played with a number of the current Welsh players.

Looking forward to facing some of them on Saturday afternoon, the Ulster captain admitted: “You have a bit of an idea of what Wales are going to come with. But knowing what they will do and actually being able to handle it are two different things.

“The big thing for us is to prepare well, we know we are going to have to be better than we were against England at the Aviva. It’s a tougher challenge, Wales in the Millenium Stadium, a team that are very much back on form now, chasing a Championship as well. It’s a massive test for us.

“He (Richard Hibbard) is a quality player. He obviously didn’t start in Paris but (did) before that. He’s a hard man that runs and tackles hard and is good in the scrum and lineout. He’s a capped British Lion, they don’t hand those out willy-nilly.

“Scott Baldwin stepped in in Paris and I thought he had a fantastic game for them, so it’s going to be a selection headache for them (at hooker) and one they’re happy to have, with two quality players there.”

While Wales will be looking to right the wrongs of their 26-3 defeat in Dublin last year, Best believes Ireland can also learn from their win over England last time out. There are areas that head coach Schmidt has highlighted for change and improvement.

“With the position the Welsh are in having lost last year to us and the year before, they will need no extra motivation. There’s no doubt that ‘Gats’ will have them well up for it,” insisted the 32-year-old.

“They will not want to lose again to us, they will not want to lose in the Millennium Stadium and they will firmly believe that they can go on and win this Championship.

“I suppose the flip side of that is so do we. We’ve a lot of confidence going forward and a lot of belief in our ability, but we know that that didn’t just come from words, it came from actions, getting our stuff right and that come Saturday at 2.30pm we’re ready to go and we’ve left nothing to chance.”