Relief for Ireland as Best avoids long lay-off

2019-04-02 20:50
Rory Best (AFP Photo)

Belfast  - Ireland rugby captain Rory Best is a relieved man after a scan revealed he had not suffered as serious an ankle injury as first feared.

The 36-year-old grizzled hooker, who has 117 caps to his name, had worried that he might be ruled out of the World Cup later this year after suffering the injury in Ulster's 21-18 European Champions Cup quarter-final defeat by Leinster on Saturday.

The World Cup will be the fourth for Best and his last hurrah at Test level.

"Probably the scan couldn't have been a lot better. There's no structural damage, just a few wrenches to some of the ligaments in there," Best told reporters.

"So, from that side of things, it's good news. It is still going to be a few weeks. They just like to put the magical figure of six weeks on it.

"It might be less, it might be more, but it's in and around there. I would hope to play some part in the end of season for Ulster, which will be a big goal now."

Best, who made his Test debut back in 2005 and has been on two British and Irish Lions tours, has been national captain since the retirement of Paul O'Connell after the 2015 World Cup.

He led them to the Six Nations Grand Slam last year -- only the third Five/Six Nations clean sweep in the country's history -- and to a historic home Test win over world champions New Zealand in November.

Like many of his team-mates his form dipped in their disappointing title defence of the recently-finished Six Nations.

However, his news will be welcome to head coach Joe Schmidt after key flanker Dan Leavy was ruled out of the World Cup on Monday due to a "complex knee injury".

Read more on:    ireland  |  rory best  |  rugby


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