Rory Best will start for Ireland in Saturday’s mouth watering Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash against Wales in New Zealand.
The Ulster hooker has passed a fitness test on the shoulder injury picked up in the final Pool game against Italy last Sunday.
Best came through Ireland’s final big training session ahead of the game with no problems after intensive treatment on a sprained AC joint in his shoulder.
Coach Declan Kidney confirmed the Ulster star will play against the Welsh after training on Thursday.
The positive report on Best’s injury has given the Irish team a major boost going into a game which will require all their mental strength and resolve according to captain Brian O’Driscoll.
“This game is huge because of the stage we’re at. It’s knockout rugby. Personally it will be the last quarter-final I’ll be in,” said the Ireland skipper.
“It’s win or go home. Once you have that mentality you must make sure you produce on every occasion you pull on a jersey in this from now on.
“Otherwise someone else will reach the next round and we’ll be the ones going home with the what-ifs.”
Wales have also named their team with Leigh Halpenny preferred at full-back to fit again James Hook and Lee Byrne. Flanker Dan Lydiate returns to the starting side.
“This is Rugby World Cup quarter-final time, and we had some tough decisions to make with the likes of Dan, Shane Williams and James returning from injury and the side having done so well in their recent absence,” said Welsh coach and former Ireland boss Warren Gatland.
“But this is the side we have gone with and, as a 22, we believe it is the team which gives us the best chance of winning this game against an Ireland team which not only topped their group, but beat Australia on the way.”