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Ireland v New Zealand: McGrath wants to make his Best impression on tourists

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 16/11/2016

Mistaken identity: Jack McGrath laughed off being confused with captain Best
Mistaken identity: Jack McGrath laughed off being confused with captain Best

While there are worse players to be confused with than Rory Best, Ireland's Jack McGrath can be confident he has now made more of a lasting impression on the New Zealand media.

The Leinsterman has made the Ireland number one jersey his own over the past number of seasons, and is a leading candidate to face the All Blacks with the Lions this coming summer, but found himself being asked questions meant for his skipper Best when sat in front of assembled Kiwi journalists two weeks ago.

"Ah, these things happen," he recalled with a chuckle.

"I knew as soon as he said it that he was going to be wrong so I had to just think of something on the spot that was going to be half-witty, but it didn't bother me to be honest.

"It's one of those things. You get mistakes and it didn't put me off or anything like that."

Fast forward a few days and McGrath was circling the pitch in celebration of Ireland's first win over the All Blacks in their 111-year history, a victory pint having being procured from somewhere, or someone, in Soldier Field.

"Some fella handed it to me," he said, again with a laugh. "It turned out to be a great picture.

"Everyone in the crowd had two pints in their hand so I just took one. I was glad to have it - I was fairly thirsty after that."

With Saturday's Dublin rematch in mind, the celebrations didn't extend much further, with McGrath, like all of his on-message team-mates, stressing they want to show they are ready to consistently match the world's best.

The 27-year-old is sure that, for their part, the All Blacks will be out for revenge in the Aviva.

"They fairly put Italy to the sword and the side that we played against were probably a bit depleted in areas," he admitted.

"They're going to be coming at full-strength this weekend, so for us to be fully switched on is a massive thing.

"It's nothing to do it just once, we want to be able to back it up and that's the focus for the week because we know how dangerous they are when you sort of take your eye off them."

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