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Ireland's Rory Best robbed of chance to be centurion against All Blacks

By Jonathan Bradley

With changes expected for Ireland's history makers ahead of Saturday's visit of Canada, Rory Best looks set to be denied the chance of winning his 100th cap against the mighty All Blacks.

The heroic first ever victory over New Zealand last week was the Ulster stalwart's 98th Test which would have lined him up for his century in the hotly-anticipated rematch next weekend.

Ireland are, however, set to rotate their squad for Saturday's clash with former Ulster boss Mark Anscombe's Canada, meaning Best would instead be winning his 99th cap when reinstated for New Zealand's first visit to Dublin in three years on Saturday-week.

There are two other hookers in the 39-man squad, Leinster duo Sean Cronin and James Tracy.

"I think there'll be an assumption that we'll make changes," said forwards coach Simon Easterby yesterday. "I think the good thing from our perspective is that there was a massive marker laid down last weekend. When players came into camp last night, the ones that weren't involved, there was a bit of buzz and anticipation for what they might be able to bring this weekend."

Only four men have ever won 100 caps for Ireland, with Best set to be the first Ulsterman to hit the mark.

And while it would have been some occasion to bring up the ton against the best side in the world, and provided nice symmetry with Best making his Test debut against the All Blacks back in 2005, should he not play on Saturday the occasion would still be marked with top opposition. Australia is the final game of the Guinness Series on November 26.

Belfast Telegraph


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