Rory Best – “We’ve Not Just Shown It Once, We’ve Shown It Twice Now.”

Blip.

Ireland captain Rory Best has admitted their third place finish in this year’s Six Nations was a “reality check” but says the team are now hungrier than ever to right their wrongs.

Best says Ireland’s biggest problem over the years has been inconsistency, but they want to prove that this year’s disappoiting finish was nothing more than a “blip” as they prepare to take on the world in Japan later this year.

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“The first thing I remember of Joe’s time in charge was sitting in a team meeting and he asked how we perceive ourselves. The big word from all the group was ‘inconsistent’,” FloGas ambassador Best recalled at a launch in Carton House today.

“And what we’ve worked hard to do is to prepare the same whoever we play and whatever we do. That’s how it’s always been under Joe and we certainly won’t go away from that now.

“It sometimes takes a reality check, and finishing third was bitterly disappointing. So coming in at the start of this pre-season everyone is as hungry as I have ever seen them.”

“We’ve had a group of players that want to prove that the 2019 Six Nations was the blip, not 2018.”

In terms of the World Cup itself – Best reckons it will be one of the most open in recent memory. While New Zealand are rightly favourites, Ireland certainly fancy their chances against anyone.

“New Zealand are the best team in the world and they are the favourites. But I also think this will be one of the most open World Cups.” Best continued

“Anyone will feel they can beat anyone on their day. And it’s great that Ireland can be one of those teams.

“But we also know that, look at Wales and England in the Six Nations, we can lose to those teams too.”

The Ulsterman also says Ireland’s second victory over the All Blacks in November could prove pivotal.

“That first victory against New Zealand, in Chicago, it felt like we pushed through a ceiling,” Best added

“But it was hugely important to get the second one, to prove again that we can do it.

“We want to be a team that can prove we can beat anyone and we’ve not just shown it once, we’ve shown it twice now.”