Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Home Sport Rugby Six Nations

Rory Best slams talk of clean sweep as Ireland's focus turns to Scotland

By Jonathan Bradley

Ireland captain Rory Best has warned he will not tolerate talk of a Six Nations Grand Slam with two games still to go.

His side's 37-27 bonus-point win over Wales on Saturday has left them as the only side still capable of clinching a clean sweep with Scotland and England still to play.

The Scots will be in Dublin on March 10, with Ireland travelling to England a week later and could even have the title sewn up by the time they head to Twickenham.

Best, who along with Rob Kearney is the only man to have played in this Six Nations and Ireland's 2009 Grand Slam clincher in Cardiff, says there is still a long way to go before we can think about what would be only the third such feat in Irish Rugby history.

"It's boring and cliche but we don't look beyond the next game," he stressed.

"You have long-term goals and everyone knows where we want to go but it's all about the next game and how we can recover to prepare for it.

"As always, we said after France that you have to get better week on week and game on game. I think by and large we've done that in these three games. It's important we use this week, obviously to freshen up, but to get ahead so you don't have to cram the Test week.

"The more you get stuff done the week with no game, the more you're ahead going into Scotland."

With his Ulster team-mate Jacob Stockdale grabbing two of five tries, Best was thrilled with how the side's young guns offered an improved attacking performance.

"I think we'll look at a game that at times we had some of the best attack we've had, certainly this season. At times we got a bit narrow in defence. We got narrow because we smashed in defence and leaked a bit and then it's hard to get your width. There was a lot to be really happy with.

"While we maybe didn't set out to get maximum points, we know if we set ourselves in the position, that we can.

"Wales were coming here, won one, lost one, so their championship was in the balance.

"When you get a team that's desperate to win that can be very difficult to break down. It proved that at times, but to get a bonus point is something that we're really happy with.

"This group, the beauty is that they're a little bit less experienced but they don't have the stigma of losing attached, they haven't been in various positions like more than a score down against a side like Wales and knowing how difficult it can be to get that back.

"You get young guys in there who, no matter what the score is, that just step up, James (Ryan) and Ports (Andrew Porter) especially, they just want to carry, want us to get us back into the game.

"It's a very easy group to manage, they all want to win, they all expect to win. They put in a lot of hard work, obviously over the last four weeks but more than that. It is very exciting but it's important we move that in the right direction."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph