June International Tours

Best feeling for Irish Simon



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Ulster prop Simon Best has described his appointment as Ireland captain as “a dream come true” ahead of the opening Test against Argentina in Santa Fe.

The 29-year-old Belfast Harlequins player has been named captain for the tour after consistent performances in Irish squads from under-19 to senior level and he could not hide his emotion at such a milestone.

“This is something I’ve been really looking forward to, like a dream come true,” Best said.

“It is always a surprise, an honour when you hear something like that. For me, it is going to be very special. It is different to captain your province.”

Best will become the first Ulster player to captain Ireland since David Humphreys against Romania in November 2005.

“Being captain is a role that I really enjoy a lot and have been doing so with Ulster for the last couple of seasons, but to captain the Irish squad is truly great,” he added.

“Everything went very quickly in the last 10 days.”

Best, who made his senior debut against Tonga in June 2003, will win his 17th cap on Saturday.

However, with both teams fielding somewhat inexperienced sides, Best believes confidence will be the key, adding: “It’s important not to feel intimidated.

“It’s a matter of being confident on the preparation we’ve been doing and we have prepared very well in the last 10 days.

“I’m sure Saturday’s will be a very tough game, very physical.”

Ulster team-mates Paddy Wallace and Andrew Trimble backed coach Eddie O’Sullivan’s decision to name Best the captain.

“Simon is my captain at Ulster, so I am very aware of him as a player and as captain. I’ll be very used to his management,” said Wallace.

Trimble added: “Simon is an excellent leader, someone I look up to a lot and all Ulster players here agree this is a fair decision. I have a great experience with him as captain.”

The five players who competed in the Heineken Cup final – Peter Bracken, Leo Cullen, Shane Jennings, Geordan Murphy and Eoin Reddan – have all arrived in Buenos Aires.

Geordan Murphy is the only one of the five who will be part of the team, on the reserves bench.


365 Digital

The first of two Tests will be played at Brigadier Estanislao Lopez stadium, the home of football team Colon.

One week later, the teams will meet again at Buenos Aires’ Velez Sarsfield stadium.

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