Rory Best Reveals Humiliating Moment That Made Him Transform Himself
Rory Best became a member of the illustrious centurion club last night.
The Irish captain won his 100th cap for Ireland last night in their famous win over Australia, becoming only the fifth player to do so for Ireland. The hooker has been a one of Ireland’s best players in recent years, excelling in the captaincy role since being appointed following last year’s Rugby World Cup.
Best however wouldn’t have reached that milestone last night were it nor for a moment ten years ago that he believes changed his mindset, making him a the player he now is today. That moment, which Best calls ‘humiliating’ happened while he was on tour with Ireland in New Zealand in 2006.
During the second test against New Zealand that summer, which Ireland lost 27-17, Best believed, that he was about to be brought on as a replacement for former Munster hooker Jerry Flannery. However, it was not him that had been called for, but instead his namesake and Ulster teammate at the time, flanker Neil Best.
Speaking to The Telegraph earlier this year, the front row opened up regarding this major turning point in his career.
I was told during the second Test to go down to the touchline and get ready to go. The strength and conditioning guys were there and saying, ‘Get stripped off, you are coming on’. There was still about 20 minutes to go and I was thinking ‘happy days’. I knew Jerry hadn’t been well but I stood there for 20 minutes in my shirt with my tracksuit off, ready to go. I never got on.
The final whistle blew and Niall O’Donovan [Ireland’s forwards coach] came down and said sorry to me. I was thinking he was going to say that they just couldn’t get me on. But they had asked for the wrong Best, they had meant Neil Best. It was pretty humiliating.
After being left humiliated, Best realised that he needed to change his approach to the game and become a better player.
It was decision time for me and I decided to put a lot more emphasis on my fitness. I refocused what I thought about alcohol and sport. I still enjoy [a beer] but it is definitely a lot less than it used to be. That summer was the moment when I felt I was not going to make it unless I changed my approach.
I am not the quickest on the pitch, and I am definitely not the strongest, so I had to be better in an area than anyone else and that was when I decided to try to be fitter than everyone else.
The new approach clearly worked with Best becoming one of Ireland’s best players over the last few years, earning a Lions call-up in 2013 and being awarded the captaincy last year. Congratulations on your 100th cap Rory, you’ve clearly earned it.