‘They are beatable’ – Best

Date published: May 18 2017

Ireland hooker Rory Best has stressed that scoring tries against New Zealand will be crucial if they are to beat them in the Lions series.

Best was part of the Irish side that shocked the All Blacks in Chicago last year as they ran in five tries in an impressive 40-29 victory.

And he believes that is the only way to beat the world champions, as penalties alone will not be enough for the British and Irish Lions.

“We had a belief that we could win,” Best told Press Association Sport when looking back at their triumph at Soldier Field last November.

“We had a shorter week – one Thursday together, maybe three training sessions before we played them, and we had that belief to beat them and a mentality to attack. It was all about going out to attack them.

“This modern-day All Blacks side is so difficult to beat. They have so many attacking weapons, and they will always score tries.

“We found that out a couple of weeks later in Dublin (New Zealand beat Ireland 21-9), that if you do not score tries against them it is very hard to beat them.”

He added: “You have to put pressure on them, getting in their faces, quick line speed, putting them under pressure. That is key. They will do it to you. This is the highest level – we have to put pressure on them.

“There is more than one way to skin a cat. Whatever way we go, it is important everyone buys into it and adds something to it. Maybe we will do it slightly differently to Chicago.”

Best revealed that British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has already made sure that his squad believes they can win the series, which the Ulster hooker feels has to be the mindset from the whole group.

“They are back-to-back world champions, and to beat them will be very hard,” he said. “They are the best for a reason. To beat them as a national side is difficult, but to come together as a best of four nations will be a real challenge.

“Personally, I have had career highs and lows, and to go on this tour and achieve something would be very special.

“They are beatable. Gats said it from the off, he didn’t want anyone on the plane who doesn’t believe we can win.

“The Irish guys have done it, but we have a lot of players in this squad who are used to winning, and that can only help.”