Time for Schmidt to admit that Rory is not the Best

On the eve of the Rugby World Cup, dropping your captain for most countries would be an idea that verges on treason. For Ireland, perhaps not.

Rory Best, who will hang up his boots after a stunning career at the top-level of rugby following the tournament – has struggled to find form in recent weeks, age and legs perhaps taking stage. Having lost 57-15 to England at the weekend, it was not just Best who wasn’t up to scratch for Ireland – but his throwing ability from the line-out was poor and caused problems for his side all afternoon.

There’s no denying that Best has been an incredible servant to Irish rugby, in fact probably one of the best to ever don the green shirt – having led out Ireland on some of their finest ever days. When asked to describe Ireland’s performance at Twickenham, Best conceded that it would be difficult to do so without turning to profanity, but unfortunately for Best – supporter’s profanity was in fact largely being aimed in his direction.

The faltering lineout is something that has never been a fixture in the past, but it points now to the 37-year-old proving more of a liability than an asset going forward. Lineouts have traditionally been a cornerstone for Ireland to gain yardage and pick up points, but on Saturday – it was a cornerstone for Manu Tuilagi to wreak havoc against them and be handed the man-of-the-match award. 

Seven out of eight throws were dismal at best, Maro Itoje cleaning them up for fun, and it was two of these throws which gave England maximum points. In fairness to Best, Jean Kleyn did poorly lift Iain Henderson when the ball was turned over for Tuilagi’s try, but it was in the 44th minute when a need for change was perhaps symbolised most.

Best appeared clueless as to what Jack McGrath had desired from him, and before you know it – Sam Underhill races off and Itoje touches between the posts. Ireland have a few options at hooker, but with Sean Cronin also under fire for his throwing ability – it is likely to be Niall Scannell who reaps the rewards from the captain’s failure.

There is no denying that Best deserves a chance to redeem himself, but with it likely that Scannell will face the Welsh in Cardiff – that game could well prove an audition for him, and should the line-out improve, it is likely Scannell makes the XV for the Scotland clash in Japan. 

With all due respect, Best perhaps is a mainstay on a principle of sentimentality rather than merit at present. There are games at the World Cup which Ireland are likely to win with relative ease, and these are the games which at the moment to perhaps which Best would be better suited. We all want to see him get the send-off he really deserves, but the reality is if it affects Ireland’s chances to a detrimental level, then there is no room for hugs and kisses – Joe Schmidt must be ruthless.

There are many leaders in the ranks with both Peter O’Mahony and Jonathan Sexton capable of captaining the side. However, if there’s a time for change, it is now and not mid-tournament, and Scannell has proved in past unphased by occasion – and could well breathe new life into a line-out that has proved a dying animal of late. For Best, it may not be the desired ending, but sometimes – sport can be cruel.

, who will hang up his boots after a stunning career at the top-level of rugby following the tournament – has struggled to find form in recent weeks, age and legs perhaps taking stage. Having lost 57-15 to England at the weekend, it was not just Best who wasn’t up to scratch for Ireland – but his throwing ability from the line-out was poor and caused problems for his side all afternoon.

There’s no denying that Best has been an incredible servant to Irish rugby, in fact probably one of the best to ever don the green shirt – having led out Ireland on some of their finest ever days. When asked to describe Ireland’s performance at Twickenham, Best conceded that it would be difficult to do so without turning to profanity, but unfortunately for Best – supporter’s profanity was in fact largely being aimed in his direction.

The faltering lineout is something that has never been a fixture in the past, but it points now to the 37-year-old proving more of a liability than an asset going forward. Lineouts have traditionally been a cornerstone for Ireland to gain yardage and pick up points, but on Saturday – it was a cornerstone for Manu Tuilagi to wreak havoc against them and be handed the man-of-the-match award. 

Seven out of eight throws were dismal at best, Maro Itoje cleaning them up for fun, and it was two of these throws which gave England maximum points. In fairness to Rory Best, Jean Kleyn did poorly lift Iain Henderson when the ball was turned over for Tuilagi’s try, but it was in the 44th minute when a need for change was perhaps symbolised most.

Rory Best appeared clueless as to what Jack McGrath had desired from him, and before you know it – Sam Underhill races off and Itoje touches between the posts. Ireland have a few options at hooker, but with Sean Cronin also under fire for his throwing ability – it is likely to be Niall Scannell who reaps the rewards from the captain’s failure.

There is no denying that Best deserves a chance to redeem himself, but with it likely that Scannell will face the Welsh in Cardiff – that game could well prove an audition for him, and should the line-out improve, it is likely Scannell makes the XV for the Scotland clash in Japan. 

With all due respect, Best perhaps is a mainstay on a principle of sentimentality rather than merit at present. There are games at the World Cup which Ireland are likely to win with relative ease, and these are the games which at the moment to perhaps which Best would be better suited. We all want to see him get the send-off he really deserves, but the reality is if it affects Ireland’s chances to a detrimental level, then there is no room for hugs and kisses – Joe Schmidt must be ruthless.

There are many leaders in the ranks with both Peter O’Mahony and Jonathan Sexton capable of captaining the side. However, if there’s a time for change, it is now and not mid-tournament, and Scannell has proved in past unphased by occasion – and could well breathe new life into a line-out that has proved a dying animal of late. For Best, it may not be the desired ending, but sometimes – sport can be cruel.

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