Irish Rugby: Rory Best a major doubt as Tommy Bowe looks to beat old mates on Sunday
Ireland bid for historic first ever appearance in RWC semi-finals
Rory Best remains Ireland’s big doubt for Saturday’s mouth watering Rugby World Cup quarter-final showdown with Wales in Wellington.
Munster hooker Michael Sherry has flown out to New Zealand as a precaution with Best set to join Jerry Flannery on the World Cup sidelines.
Sean Cronin is in line to start against the Welsh as Best continues treatment on a shoulder injury picked up in Sunday’s impressive win over Italy.
Ireland coach Declan Kidney won’t make a final decision on Best’s availability until Friday as the medics continue to work on his injured AC joint.
Assistant coach Mark Tainton revealed: “The medical team’s worked hard with Rory over the last 24 hours. He’s reacted well and we’re very pleased with the response.
“He’s not totally ruled out but his chances at the moment are long. He’s doubtful for this weekend but has not been ruled out of the competition.”
Sherry is expected to arrive in New Zealand on Thursday and will act as cover to Cronin and Damien Varley in the build-up to the eagerly anticipated Welsh game.
“Rory Best is still progressing with his rehabilitation and while he is still rated doubtful for Wales, we felt it prudent to bring Mike down to New Zealand as precautionary cover,” added Ireland team manager Paul McNaughton.
“We expect Mike to arrive in New Zealand on Thursday.”
Irish winger Tommy Bowe, currently playing his club rugby in Wales, believes his team can rewrite the history books and make a first Rugby World Cup semi-final for Ireland when he faces many of his Welsh mates on Saturday.
“We’ve been very happy with the way the last four games have gone,” said Bowe. “We know how well Wales are playing, they’re definitely one of the form teams at the World Cup.
“It’s going to be difficult but this is a chance to create history for Ireland. There’s a huge amount of self-belief in the team. We have a great blend of youth and experience.
“A lot of the players have been in cup competitions and this is an exciting time for Irish rugby. This team is in as strong a position as we’ve ever had. We’ve got some world-class players.
“In the past we’ve always been strong going into the World Cup but failed playing against some of the top teams. This time we’ve beaten Australia and Italy.”
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