Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Kidney keeping World Cup door open for Best

Ireland coach Declan Kidney has kept his Wales counterpart Warren Gatland guessing ahead of their World Cup quarter-final showdown on Saturday.

Kidney will give Ulster hooker Rory Best every chance of running out in Wellington on Saturday in what would be the biggest game of his career.

Best, who sprained the A/C joint in his right shoulder during Sunday’s win over Italy has been ruled out and Ireland have until 48 hours before Saturday’s 6pm kick-off (6am UK time) to make a decision, with Sean Cronin ready to deputise.

Elsewhere, Kidney has gone with the side that accounted for Italy so impressively in Dunedin and is encouraged by Best’s recovery from an injury that initially appeared to have ended his World Cup.

"Rory had a good day yesterday. He is not ruled out yet and we will give it right to the end," said Kidney.

Best has been having a superb tournament and is a key figure for the Irish, with every edge crucial ahead of the meeting with Wales.

Kidney has stuck with the Munster pair of Ronan O’Gara and Conor Murray at half-back, but said it had not been a straightforward selection meeting in any area of the team.

"It wasn’t one of those meetings where you go in and say ‘will we go with the same again?’ and everybody simply nods," said Kidney.

"There were a couple of hours went into this selection which is not so much a reflection on the fellas who were picked but on the fellas who weren’t."

IRELAND: R Kearney; T Bowe, B O’Driscoll (capt), G D’Arcy, K Earls; R O’Gara, C Murray; C Healy, R Best/S Cronin, M Ross; D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell; S Ferris, S O’Brien, J Heaslip. Reps: S Cronin/D Varley, T Court, D Ryan, D Leamy, E Reddan, J Sexton, A Trimble.

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