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Ireland will get better after Scotland win, vows Best with Six Nations title challenge in his sights


Rory Best
Rory Best
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Ireland got their Six Nations bid back on track in Edinburgh on Saturday but skipper Rory Best insists there is still more to come from his side after beating Scotland 22-13.

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With Best's Ulster team-mate Jacob Stockdale among the scorers, Ireland bounced back from their harrowing loss to England in Dublin that opened the Championship but, while Best said the side were more like themselves, the hooker does not yet feel that they hit the high watermark of last year.

"I think it was very important," he said of the result and Ireland's Six Nations title hopes with England in the ascendancy after their emphatic 44-8 win over France yesterday.

Best added: "If you lose two games you're dead and buried. We'll have to rely on other people which isn't where you want to be. But if we hadn't won here, we were definitely out of it.

"It was important to get the result. Obviously, we wanted to improve in certain areas, physically, and we wanted to play a lot more like ourselves. We can be better, we can play more rugby, and I'm sure Joe will touch on that when we meet up again.

"With 15 minutes to go there was an opportunity to go for four tries but we couldn't get the sustained pressure."

In the wake of that opening loss to England, Joe Schmidt's Ireland were on the receiving end of more criticism than at any time since the 2015 World Cup exit to Argentina, but Best stressed that there would be just the same level of internal pressure when the side next take the field away to Italy at the end of the month.

"I think it was a different pressure (against Scotland) but we're back now to the pressure that we put on ourselves.

"We'd ideally like to play better and with more fluidity than we did against Scotland, probably get on the front foot more than we did. Defensively they came off the line very hard and worked hard at the breakdown.

"We'll go back to the pressure we put on and the coaches put on us. We want to be better. Last week was a very strange week. We felt we'd done alright in some areas against England, and were pretty poor in others with some silly mistakes.

"But we don't strive for all right, we want to be the best we can be and England wasn't it. Mentally and emotionally we took a step forward this week."

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