| 12.2°C Dublin

Rory is getting back to his Best


CLASS ACT: Rory Best. Pic: Sportsfile

CLASS ACT: Rory Best. Pic: Sportsfile


CLASS ACT: Rory Best. Pic: Sportsfile

Ireland captain Rory Best has been moving well, very well in recent weeks.

The 36-year-old was the difference between Ulster being embarrassed at Kingspan Stadium in the PRO14 League on Friday night and being emboldened to believe in Dan McFarland's regime.

The hooker executed an orthodox above-the-head offload to create the opportunity for Robert Baloucoune's try and applied 'the coup de grace' with a beautifully delayed one-hander for Dave Shanahan's clincher.

All the grunt in the world doesn't work without a touch of class to turn possession into points.

"I think Munster's defence was better," noted McFarland.

"They did a really good job of disrupting the breakdown, a lot of which was illegal, a few double dips at rucks, slowing us down.

"But that's the way they needed to go.

"It took 40 minutes to change that up, but, fortunately, we had a dominant maul. That was a weapon that when we were able to put into practice we made good use of it."

All of that would have come to nothing were it not for the impact of Best from the bench.

Ulster are well-placed in second in Conference B ahead of their journey to Connacht on Friday night (KO 7.35, eir Sport).

Increasingly, the Interprovincial Christmas match-ups are becoming a matter of moves.

Munster sent a second-string selection up to Belfast and came away with second place.

The gamble paid off, at least in part, by securing a losing bonus-point in the 19-12 defeat.

"I said to the group after the game that we really put our heart and souls into that one," said coach Johann van Graan.

"The effort went in, and as a coach you can't ask for more."

Their focus will turn to Leinster coming to Thomond Park on Saturday night (KO 5.15. eir Sport).