‘He silenced a lot of his critics out there’: Iain Henderson heaps praise on Ireland captain Rory Best for flawless display in win over Scotland
- Rory Best had a dreadful game in the World Cup warm-up defeat by England
- Many questioned whether, at 37 years old, the hooker could still perform
- He answered doubters with convincing 80-minute display against Scotland
Iain Henderson hailed the performance of Rory Best after Ireland trounced Scotland, claiming the captain had ‘silenced a lot of his critics’.
The Ulster hooker, who will retire after the World Cup, has come in for criticism, with many questioning if his 37-year-old frame could withstand a gruelling seven-week campaign in Japan.
But Best made a big statement with a superb 80-minute showing against the Scots, overseeing a near-flawless lineout operation and scoring one of Ireland’s four tries.
Rory Best put in a brilliant performance for the full 80 minutes against Scotland in Yokohama
‘I think he had an absolutely sterling performance.’ said Henderson, who also had a storming game at lock.
‘He silenced a lot of his critics out there. You don’t understand what Rory Best brings to a squad and I think today people got a small insight into what he can add.’
Fellow forward CJ Stander, who was named man of the match, also rushed to the defence of Best after the skipper lead his side to a four-try hammering of the Scots.
‘He’s a great leader and great player,’ said the Munster No8.
‘Those critics are always going to come. It doesn’t matter who you are and where you play, it’s always going to come. I think he always plays well.’
Joe Schmidt’s squad are now in pole position to finish top of Pool A with games against Japan, Russia and Samoa to come.
Iain Henderson hailed the Irish captain for silencing his doubters after some criticism
First place would set up a tantalising quarter-final meeting with South Africa but Henderson was quick to warn of any complacency with Japan on the horizon next Saturday, a side which pulled off one of the greatest World Cup upsets against the Springboks in Brighton four years ago.
‘We all know what Japan have done to big teams, teams above them in the world rankings at the World Cup,’ warned the Ulster forward.
‘We know we’re potentially a vulnerable target for them. We just have to concentrate and get our stuff right for next week. Pretty much everyone watched their game last week but we’ll get a real chance to analyse it now.’
Ireland expect to have Rob Kearney, Keith Earls and Joey Carbery back in contention for next Saturday’s clash with the Brave Blossoms in Shizuoka.
There was widespread worry when Kearney and Earls were ruled out of Sunday’s showdown but Andrew Conway and Jordan Larmour stepped up with superb displays.
The Irish launched their World Cup campaign with an impressive win over Scotland
Like his captain Best, Conway felt he had a point to prove.
‘I know there was a big thing about the aerial (defence), and missing Rob and stuff, but again I’m sure he’d probably answer the question the same as I did; I kind of like seeing that,’ said the Munster wing.
‘Sometimes you’re calling for a new fella at full-back, whenever a new fella is in, it’s a case of ‘where’s Rob?’ ‘It’s always the grass is always greener between the media and the public. Yeah, it’s an enjoyable one.’
The Ireland management will issue injury updates on Monday on Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki, who both failed head injury assessment during a bruising contest.