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Captain to captain - Keith Wood's World Cup advice for Rory Best

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

10:35 11 Sep 2019



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Former Ireland captain Keith Wood joined Wednesday Night Rugby, and imparted some advice to Rory Best ahead of the World Cup in Japan.

Keith and Rory's parallels are stark, both outgoing captains on the brink of a World Cup where Ireland promise, and promised, much.

While Keith's career drew to a close after the defeat to France in 2003, he had two main pieces of advice for Best as the team depart with great expectations.

"As captain, there are a variety of different things that you have to do. I would be saying 'Try and limit your press conferences'. They are only going to be asking you the same questions all the time.

"Get away from everybody if you can - get a little bit of time to yourself. There is an awful lot going on, and he has been under an awful lot of pressure. He came back from that over the weekend, and played much better.

"He has undoubted pedigree [but] he only has few more miles in the clock. Joe will use those as judiciously as possible, to maximise what we can get out of him.

"I don't want to sound too callous, but that's exactly what he wants - he wants the last amount of rugby out of him after the next few weeks."

Expanding on the theme of getting the head out of the game, Keith gave an example from his World Cup in 2003.

"I liked the idea of not thinking and talking rugby every minute. I brought a load of different books with me to Australia. I went down to the beach in Terrigal, the headland around the corner and just read.

"I didn't want to be rugby, rugby, rugby every second. I think I did that too much early on in my career and then you are almost burnt out when you reach the field.

"How he manages his energy, and how Joe manages him, could be key for us in the next few weeks.

Keith had final words of advice for Best, as the world watches.

"It's a pretty high privilege to play on the world stage, and he has done it a number of times.

"It is about getting that balance right with the emotion, so that it doesn't spill into over-arousal."

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