Best ‘underestimated’ strain of captaincy

Date published: April 28 2016

Ireland hooker Rory Best has conceded that he was not aware of the magnitude or scale of intensity that comes with captaining your country in the Six Nations.

Albeit the vehement level of scrutiny that goes hand-in-hand with such an important role as leading your country, he relished the time during throughout tournament noting it as a good learning experience.

The 33-year-old Best, who has made over 90 appearances for the Emerald Isle since his debut in 2005, as always played under the leadership of retired Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll and recently retired lock stalwart Paul O'Connell.

Best added that the results compounds the pressure on the leader as everyone turned to him for inspiration after an opening round draw against Wales and losses to France and England shortly thereafter.

"I knew it was a full-on tournament," Best told the Irish Independent. 

"To captain the side, you just don't get a break from it, and it's five games, so it's not an extended period, but there's definitely that bit more pressure on you.

"Particularly if you get to the second or third game and don't get the win, you carry that little more expectation so you can't just shrug it off; you know that you have to perform in the next game.

"I probably underestimated that a little bit, because I'd been involved in the senior player group and everything, I thought it would just be the same as the World Cup; you turn up and play and everyone else would go – but there is a little bit more of a sideshow if you like, the pressure and everything.

"I enjoyed it and really enjoyed working alongside Joe (Schmidt) as captain, and the other senior players."