Belfast Telegraph

Ton-up captain Rory Best a hero to be proud of

Editor's Viewpoint

The achievement of winning 100 caps in any major sport is worthy of congratulations, and none more so than that of Rory Best.

On Saturday he won his 100th cap when he led the Irish team in an outstanding victory over Australia in one of the most thrilling games in the Aviva Stadium in recent years.

Rugby fans were wondering if the Irish side could beat the World Cup finalists on home ground, after defeating New Zealand, the World champions, in Chicago.

There was the added challenge of claiming yet another scalp on Saturday, which would mean that Ireland would have beaten the three top Southern Hemisphere teams, including South Africa, in one year.

In the first half Ireland seemed to be on the way to this record, but in a nailbiting second half, it looked as if the Australians would steam-roller their way to a victory.

However, Ireland surged back to achieve a memorable win. This was a game for heroes, and not only the established Irish stars, but also the young, relative newcomers who were drafted in to fill gaps left by injuries, and who rose to the occasion magnificently.

However, one of the greatest heroes of all was our own Rory Best, who led by example, and urged on his colleagues even in the darker moments. In the end they were triumphant.

What better way could there have been to mark a 100th cap? This was impressive, but even more impressive was the way in which Rory modestly distanced himself from the glory, and heaped praise on his fellow players, coaches and also on the Irish supporters.

There was also the lovely family touch when Rory shared in the pictures with his wife and young children. It showed the softer side of a man who has to be as hard as teak in leading an international side to victory in a sport that is as tough and demanding as rugby.

There was another glimpse of Rory's awareness of others, when in full view of the television cameras he paused in the post-match celebrations to pose for a photograph beside a young man in a wheelchair.

International sport is now so competitive that too many people want their side to win at all costs.

Rory Best has shown throughout his distinguished career that he is not only a born leader in a demanding sport, but also a gentleman.

Everyone in Northern Ireland should be proud of him.

Well done, Rory.

Belfast Telegraph


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