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Whole squad prepared to follow inspirational skipper through anything: Furlong

Big support: Tadhg Furlong is a fan of Irish captain Rory Best
Big support: Tadhg Furlong is a fan of Irish captain Rory Best

By Nick Purewal

Ireland will "go anywhere and back" for captain Rory Best at the World Cup, pledges prop Tadhg Furlong.

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Evergreen 37-year-old hooker Best will win his 121st cap at his fourth World Cup when Ireland square up to Scotland in Yokohama tomorrow.

Furlong admitted he still finds it hard to fathom that he watched Best battling at the 2007 tournament, but cannot wait to pack down alongside the Ulster front-rower this weekend.

Best's stewardship came under fire in the wake of Ireland's record 57-15 defeat by England in August, but Furlong believes the combative hooker can steer his side in style in Japan.

"I couldn't say enough about the man," said Furlong of Best.

"He leads by his actions, he's incredibly good for us as a group, and he represents us unbelievably well.

"His attention to detail, how he keeps his body right, for an ageing man of 37 you see him running around in pre-season and he's as fit as a fiddle.

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"I'd go to anywhere and back with him. And I speak for the whole squad in terms of that.

"It's kind of mad to think that Rory Best was playing in it (in 2007), and that's the first one I can distinctly remember in some ways. But it probably just shows the longevity in him, that's a nice way to say it!

"We had the four warm-up games and I thought throughout we got better and better as it went on.

"There's no sort of easing into it, not that we thought like that against England.

"I think that we bounced back pretty well off the back of that. To win in Cardiff is not easy, to beat Wales at home is not easy.

"So there was definitely some confidence brewing in the squad as the week went on.

"Some of the work we've done throughout pre-season and the work we've done here has left us in a good place.

"I suppose I'm not all that experienced in this tournament, I've only played one World Cup match myself, so I think it's just trying to stick to what we've worked on throughout the pre-season and into the warm-up games.

"You're not reinventing the wheel, you're just trying to do your job as best you can really and block out as much external noise and distraction as you can to really focus on your performance."

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