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Rugby

"I'm delighted he's not involved" | Wood queries management of Rory Best

A starter in both of Ireland's World Cup games against Scotland and Japan, Rory Best will be give...



Rugby

"I'm delighted he's not involved" | Wood queries management of Rory Best

A starter in both of Ireland's World Cup games against Scotland and Japan, Rory Best will be given a break when Joe Schmidt's side takes on Russia on Thursday morning. 

In what will be Rory Best's final few outings as a professional rugby player, Keith Wood is concerned with the manner in which Joe Schmidt has decided to manage the 37-year-old prop's playing time during the World Cup.

Taking his place in the front-row for Ireland's opening two games, it was a source of some relief for Wood that the Irish captain would not be called upon to start against Russia on Thursday morning.

"I'm delighted he's not involved," admitted Wood on Wednesday's OTB AM, "he can't play every minute of every game."

Contending with question marks that hung over his pre-tournament form and what can realistically be expected of a player in his late-30s in such a high-octane environment, Rory Best, among those who were found wanting in Ireland's surprise defeat to Japan, is a source of some concern.

"I thought he was under huge pressure because he didn't set the world on fire in the warm-up games," suggested Wood.

"Those games don't matter in truth, but there's always doubt because this is his last time to wear the jersey.

"It's a big call to pick a guy that is 37-years-old so he has to deliver all the time, and for me, I felt he should have been rested [against Japan].

"Playing 80-minutes in the first match was a huge call, but he played it and did really well. To try and back that up within a week is a hard one."

Confused by Joe Schmidt's decision to start Rory Best in back-to-back games, Wood stated: "I would have felt that if you're going to use him, and if he has the leadership capabilities that everybody says he has, well then you need to manage it properly."

With Johnny Sexton set to take on the captain's role for Ireland's game against Russia, you can watch Keith Wood's pre-game build-up in its entirety here

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Irish Rugby Football Union Joe Schmidt Keith Wood Rory Best

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