RUGBY: Rory Best insists Irish Rugby is in a stronger place

Ireland skipper 
Rory Best and head coach Joe Schmidt
Ireland skipper Rory Best and head coach Joe Schmidt

Skipper Rory Best insists the Ireland squad is in a stronger place now as they look to complete a clean sweep of victories in the November Guinness Test series.

Ireland face Argentina at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, on Saturday evening aiming to make it three from three having already defeated South Africa and Fiji.

While the Irish have never lost at home against the Pumas in seven meetings, the most recent game between the sides in 2015 is not easily forgotten.

That was a Rugby World Cup quarter-final and the South Americas dished out a lesson as they won 43-20 in Cardiff.

Hooker Best will move fourth outright on Ireland’s all-time list of Test-match appearances on Saturday, edging past John Hayes on the occasion of his 106th cap who will move tinsists Ireland have long since moved past the humbling loss - and that Joe Schmidt’s men have improved markedly in the intervening two years.

“In the immediate aftermath we were very disappointed, but that was two years ago,” said Best.

“It was a disappointing day for Irish rugby, but two thirds of this Saturday’s starting team weren’t there.

“We hope that we’ve improved our depth and that we never get into that situation again.

“We got lucky with injuries in the two years in the build-up to the last World Cup and so weren’t forced to build some elements of depth. But since then our hand has been forced a bit, and so it’s been about giving people opportunities.

“I feel the squad’s in a stronger place now, and that’s mainly because people have had opportunities.”