Rory Best: Wales game is more than just a warm-up

Rory Best: Wales game is more than just a warm-up

RORY Best insists Ireland will be treating their upcoming fixtures ahead of the World Cup as more than just warm-up games.

Ireland have four official Test games ahead of their September 19 World Cup opener against Canada at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, starting with Wales this Saturday.

Scotland, Wales again and England will all be played before the tournament too, but hooker Best has warned that these games are more than warm-ups, with positions in the final 31-man panel still up for grabs.

“It’s important that we realise that they aren’t just warm-up matches, these are Test matches,” Best told Irish Rugby TV.

“There are opportunities individually but, ultimately, it’s an opportunity collectively to showcase what we can do as a team.

“We are treating this [the Wales game] as a Test match. It would be unfair to people when they’ve got an opportunity to get on a plane to the World Cup to not treat this as anything other than a one-off Test match.”

Best revealed that head coach Joe Schmidt is also taking the preparations very seriously, with the deadline for the squad to be cut from 46 to the final 31 on September 6.

He added: “Whenever we go into a Six Nations game they [the coaching staff] bring in some new stuff and Joe’s approach to this game has been no different to any other.

“We’ll do the same next Sunday when we meet, looking ahead to Scotland, and that’s the way it’s got to be – you’ve got to give everybody the best opportunity.”