Belfast Telegraph

Best: Lions now ready for All Blacks challenge


By Jonathan Bradley

A proud Rory Best believes the Lions now have some real momentum heading into Saturday’s first Test against the All Blacks.

The Ireland captain skippered Warren Gatland’s men to a 34-6 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton yesterday morning to record the side’s first midweek victory.

With Ulsterman Jared Payne among the try-scorers for a side comprised of those unlikely to play in the first Test, this comprehensive victory ensured the underdogs have put together back-to-back wins before taking on the World champions, and Best thinks the northern hemisphere’s finest are building nicely ahead of the huge clash at Eden Park.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this bunch of boys,” said the man who was captain when the Lions lost their only midweek game in Australia last time around.

“Four years ago we lost that game, and the way I played and the way the team played was disappointing. I said to the guys, regardless of what happens off the back of this, don’t regret this fixture and the way you perform. It was something we really tried to channel.

“For me personally, to have captained those boys, when you get to the 80th minute and your tighthead prop Dan Cole, that has been on the pitch for every one of those minutes, makes the turnover to end the game, it shows the commitment the boys had.

“It’s a wider squad and it was important for us to feel we contributed in terms of victory and momentum. I think we’ve done that and I think we’re in a good place going forward.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph