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Best stays focused on shutting up England

By Jonathan Bradley

Captain Rory Best has branded England's attempts to unsettle Ireland ahead of today's Six Nations clash between the teams (4.50pm) as a "sideshow".

With England coach Eddie Jones in his first Six Nations since taking over from Stuart Lancaster after the World Cup, the mischievous Aussie began the week by slamming Ireland for kicking away possession too often before saying that star out-half Johnny Sexton's parents would be worried for their son's long-term health given his injury record.

Ireland have avoided becoming embroiled in any public spat with today's Twickenham hosts and head coach Joe Schmidt said it would be nothing more than a waste of energy.

Ulster favourite Best said: "We've enough going on with our own stuff. We didn't catch all of that and we're not that worried about that - we have to look after our own stuff and that we are as close to perfect as we can be because that's where you need to be against England. Everything else, apart from the rugby for us, is a sideshow that we don't want to get involved in."

On Sexton, the Ireland skipper added: "All we know is that Johnny is a key player for us. He's a quality player."

Ireland must win at Twickeham if they are to keep alive their faint title hopes with Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey set for his Test debut.

Last night Wales beat France 19-10 in Cardiff.

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