Ireland Captain Rory Best Explains Why He Doesn’t Sing Ireland’s Call
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Ireland captain Rory Best is set to hang up his boots after the World Cup after a truly remarkable career that has seen him lead Ireland to a Grand Slam, as well as two wins over the All Blacks, and several other titles.
The Ulsterman will go down as one of Ireland’s greatest and most successful captains, but being from across the border has resulted in the hooker receiving a bit of stick over the years.
While it’s understandable why Best doesn’t sing Amhrán na Bhfiann when it’s played ahead of Ireland’s home matches, the 36-year-old has been criticised for not singing Ireland’s Call – a song created for the entire island of Ireland ahead of their rugby internationals. Especially considering he’s the country’s captain.
But Best has a fairly straightforward explanation for this, detailing his reasoning in an excellent interview with former teammate Darren Cave on The Rugby Pod. Basically before a game Best wants make sure he is fully focused on the opposition – keeping all emotion out of it, and his eyes fully on the prize. It’s got nothing to do with where he’s from or his views etc.
“Look, the thing is, it’s so ironic that you get abused for it, and nobody’s ever stopped and asked you, ‘why don’t you sing it?’” Best said
“It goes back to my Ireland Schools’ days. And you know what it’s like playing Ireland’s Schools’, you know, you think it’s going to be the greatest honour you’re ever going to achieve. You’re playing for Ireland. Being from rugby families like we were, you’re going ‘this is incredible!’. You get so emotionally charged for it. And Ireland’s Call comes on that you’ve heard so many times in the old Lansdowne Road or watching on TV, and you’re belting it out.”
“And I remember we played France or England. Kicked off. I’m flying up going ‘the first guy is getting it!’. They catch it, kick it out, and I’m then turning around, running back to get a ball, still thinking ‘somebody’s gonna to get it’., and I fired this throw in and it went, like I sort of tell the story that it went three times the height of the person I was throwing it to, it wasn’t that bad! And it flew over the top.”
“From then on, I went, I can’t go into a game… because it’s so emotive to me, Ireland’s Call. And actually, even the tail end of the Irish national anthem, you know the way you get that build up for that crescendo at the end. They’re memories I have from going to the old Lansdowne Road to watch, this build up, and then the massive cheer, and then Ireland’s Call coming on.”
“The problem is then, I worry that it’s going to happen in a big game. That we’re going to kick off against the All Blacks, Beauden Barrett’s going to catch it, kick it out, and then I’m fully charged, trying to focus in. And it is such a core skill. It’s a bit like goalkicking, you have to get your heart rate down, you have to focus, get your breathing back, and focus for that split second to throw the perfect throw and that’s just why I did it. I don’t know whether it would affect me as much now, but I’m not prepared to take the chance.”
You can listen to Darren Cave’s full interview with Rory Best on The Rugby Pod’s Patreon page.