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Ulster's Rory Best determined to avoid Irish history lesson

Niall Crozier

The hand of rugby history will be on Rory Best's shoulder on Sunday and the Ulster stalwart is determined to shrug it off.

Best (31) will become Ireland's most capped hooker as he earns his 70th international cap against world champions New Zealand at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks in 27 attempts and the Kiwis will create history if they win again this weekend to notch up a record 14 in a row in a calendar year in the professional era.

Injury doubts over centre Brian O'Driscoll, fly-half Jonny Sexton and full-back Rob Kearney won't make the Irish task any easier after last weekend's mauling by Australia.

But Best promised the All Blacks a battle, saying: "We need to bring a physicality that we probably haven't brought before in an Ireland shirt.

"We're playing the top team in the world. Now is the time to go out and make a bit of a statement that we have top quality players who can compete at this level."

On the injury front, O'Driscoll and Sexton missed training yesterday with Ulster's Paddy Jackson on standby to step in for the latter.

Third doubt Rob Kearney trained and philosophical Best admitted: "There will be a lot of pressure if one, two or three of those guys don't make it, but at the same time international rugby is all about pressure and whoever copes with it best."

Belfast Telegraph


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