Paddy Jackson praises Rory Best for emotional speech that inspired improbable Ulster comeback

Ulster rallied from a huge deficit to claim victory in France on Sunday.

Rory Best, Ulster, Paddy Jackson,

Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd

Ulster came back from 23 points down to record an amazing victory against Oyonnax on Sunday, and while Paddy Jackson stepped up to nail a kick from distance that sealed the win, he was keen to pass the praise to captain Rory Best. 

Jackson revealed that heads were down in the dressing room at half-time after being completely outclassed in the first 40 minutes, but Best stood up and made sure that everyone knew what was on the line.

Speaking after the game, Jackson said "to be fair to Rory [Best] the way he got the boys rallied in the changing room at half-time was something special. I’ve never been in a situation like that before where we’ve been so far behind and to see Rory get the boys going was something pretty special to watch".  

Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd

"I can’t repeat some of the words he actually used," Jackson added, "but you could see the fire in his eyes and how much this club means to him, and how big this game was [...] we just said we’re going to have to go out and win. We’ve got 40 minutes to do it, and with a lot more swear words". 

Coach Les Kiss also hailed the speech as being at least partly responsible for the turnaround, saying "it was probably 50-50 [the speech and tactical changes], the thrust had to be a reality-check and, to a man, they said this is not good enough.

"There had to be a bit of emotion in it, but the emotion had to be attached to the fact that, if we run the plays like we know we can, if people are switched on and do their job," they would be able to turn things around.

Rory Best's name is sure to figure in Joe Schmidt's plans as he considers who the new captain of the Ireland team will be, but delivering a big speech à la Paul O'Connell to rally the troops probably won't harm his case.

Via The Irish Times