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21.55 26 Aug 2019


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Keith Wood says current Ireland captain Rory Best is "under huge pressure" after struggling against England.

The former Ireland captain joined us to give his take on the line-out fall-out from Saturday's Twickenham debacle, having reviewed some of the key set-pieces that went wrong.

But on the question of Best's place within the squad, Wood sees significant pressure on the hooker's shoulders.

"He's absolutely under huge pressure," he said.

"Of course he is and I know Ronan said he didn't think he was. You need all your players to be playing at the best of their ability.

"And which he is under pressure. He knows it full well himself and I'm sure Joe [Schmidt] does as well. He wants his leaders to lead and he wants players to be the guys that can deliver on the field.

"For me, there's a worry in the fact that we haven't seen other players getting more game-time or making more out of more game-time over the last few years.

"He's 37-years-of-age and there's a normally good young player at 21-22 coming in and knocking on the door. We haven't seemed to have that for a period of time."

He also emphasised that "quandary" of no major alternative there to challenge Rory Best for his place.

Drift Defence

Wood also had his say on Ireland's defence as it wilted in the Twickenham heat.

"Our defensive setup seemed to be an element of drift defence as opposed to press," he said.

"I feel we're at our best with Munster, Ireland with a hard press defence. It cuts down the space and we weren't cutting down the space. [England] targeted Ross Byrne a lot and there was a feeling, because you could see it in the setup of our backs, that was recognised. At different times they'd put Aki in to take that tackle."

You can watch the full chat with Keith Wood and Ronan O'Gara above via YouTube.

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