Call-up the Best decision – Kiss

Date published: May 28 2013

Acting Ireland head coach Les Kiss has said that Rory Best fully deserves his place in the British and Irish Lions squad.

Acting Ireland head coach Les Kiss has said that Rory Best fully deserves his place in the British and Irish Lions squad.

Best was a surprise omission from the original 37-man squad but has now linked up with the squad following the 11-week suspension of Dylan Hartley.

Originally scheduled to lead Ireland on their tour of North America, Best's captaincy will now be taken by Munster flanker Peter O'Mahony.

“It's something that all of us in this island thought was deserved in the first place, but that's the way it happens in selection sometimes,” said Kiss.

“We're extremely happy for what Rory's got, it's great reward for everything he's done over the last four years. He's been immense for Ulster and Ireland.

“I do know that he's the type of player Australia will hate to play against and if he gets his chance he'll take it.”

“It's a huge honour for me and my family. I was delighted by the call and delighted for Rory to get his chance with the Lions,” said O'Mahony.

“We all thought he deserved it in the first place and we should have been sending text messages of congratulation on April 30.

“This is an exciting Ireland squad with a good mix of youth and experience, so it should be a fun and interesting trip.

“Some things are different when you're captain, but on the pitch you just do what your normally do.”

Kiss admitted that O'Mahony had been earmarked as a future Ireland leader from a young age and was more than able to lead Ireland over the next few weeks.

“It was noted from a young age that Peter had leadership skills and those skills have come through often for Munster and during under-age rugby for Ireland,” stated Kiss.

“It's a great opportunity for Peter to feel what it's like to take a team to a different environment. I believe he will handle it very well.”

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