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Six Nations: Frustrated Rory Best calls for ruthless edge in future from Ireland after England loss

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 29/02/2016

Rueful mood: Rory Best pointed to missed chances
Rueful mood: Rory Best pointed to missed chances

After failing to win any of their first three Six Nations games, Ireland captain Rory Best knows the team must be more clinical if they are to get back to winning ways against Italy.

Conor Murray's score in the second-half of the 21-10 loss to England on Saturday was only their second in the championship so far with the Ulster stalwart left to rue a number of missed opportunities that would have dramatically altered the landscape at Twickenham.

"We defended really well in the first-half and boys stood up really, really well," said the man who succeeded Paul O'Connell in the role of skipper before the tournament.

"The closer we got to our own line, the more physical we became.

"In the second-half, we were presented with an opportunity early and we took it. We had another couple of opportunities in their 22 in the second-half and didn't take any of them, which is disappointing. At this level, you have to take as many of those as you can.

"We didn't take enough, and didn't take the right ones at crucial times."

Having lost O'Connell to retirement, as well as Peter O'Mahony to injury, the line-out suffered at critical times in London with Best admitting the faltering set-piece made it difficult for a side who have relied heavily on play out of touch for scores during Joe Schmidt's tenure as coach.

"The gap squeezed up a wee bit," he said. "They were moving late and going into areas where we were looking to throw to set up our maul. We'll take a look back at that. The areas where we lost them is probably more concerning.

"We were reasonably good in the middle of the pitch, but to turn over a couple of big opportunities five metres from their line is disappointing - especially when we did set up a couple of good mauls when we did win the ball there.

"It's something we pride ourselves on, the lineout, and to turn those couple over is bitterly disappointing."

Referee Romain Poite had an eventful day with the whistle with one particular incident a source of frustration for hooker Best.

After Devin Toner had been pinged for a tackle off the ball, Best was heard asking the Frenchman to check for possible foul play from England in the previous phases but there appeared to be no check with the TMO.

"We asked him if there had been any foul play," recalled Best.

"We said 'yeah, Dev's done what he's done but have a look at it'.

"He said the TMO was looking at it, and I was asking why he was letting him (Owen Farrell)take the penalty.

"He kept saying 'the TMO, the TMO'. That's really all he said.

"That's frustrating. Are we going to look at it or are we not going to look at it?

"From our point of view, all we want is clarity between the captain and the referee.

"In my opinion, while Romain was very good with talking in the first-half, as the game went on, communication became less and less, which is a little bit frustrating.

"If you get a clear call to say 'we don't want to look at it' or 'the TMO's looked at it and there's nothing there', then that's fine.

"All you can do is ask but when you're getting mixed messages, it can be a little bit frustrating.

"I certainly know our boys can get a little bit frustrated by that as well."

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