Six Nations: England will try to 'destroy' Irish driving maul says Rory Best

Last Updated: 17/02/14 4:10pm

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Rory Best: England pack will try to 'destroy' us

Rory Best: England pack will try to 'destroy' us

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England will try to "destroy" Ireland's maul at Twickenham on Saturday, according to Rory Best.

The Irish, going for the Triple Crown, have made their driving maul a fearsome weapon this season, with neither Scotland or Wales having an answer - both were hammered in Dublin.

"He played in a very physical Leicester team, that's his grounding, that's what he's going to expect from his players when we go out to play them on Saturday."
Best on Rowntree

Ireland hooker Best is expecting a ferocious battle with England's huge pack, and he says the hosts' forwards coach Graham Rowntree will whip their big men into a frenzy in the run-up to the game.

"He's going to be drumming that into them all week: there's been a lot made of our maul, so he'll want to make a point of destroying that," said Best.

"He played in a very physical Leicester team, that's his grounding, that's what he's going to expect from his players when we go out to play them on Saturday.

"And it's all about physical dominance with him. You dominate up front, you dominate the game. No one makes any secret of the fact that's how you win games.

"And he'll be drumming that into them all week, there's no doubt. There'll be a lot of technical aspects, but a lot of it will also come down to mindset."

Cole blow

The loss of Dan Cole to injury is, Best says, "a massive blow" to England's scrum. Bath's David Wilson is emerging as the favourite to replace the Leicester tighthead.

"Dan's only missed two of Stuart Lancaster's squads and that's when he's been away with the Lions," said Best.

"From an English point of view it's coincided well with Davey Wilson playing for Bath last weekend.

"The scrum's going to be a massive part of this game. Two years ago we certainly got beaten up there, to put it mildly, and it cost us the match. And it's going to be no different this weekend.

"They have a very good scrum, no matter who they bring in, whoever gets the opportunity to fill Dan Cole's shirt, they are going to be very tough.

"Their scrum has been going very well, their line-out has been exceptional, and we know that we need to at very worst match that."

Best replaced Dylan Hartley on last summer's Lions tour, after the Northampton hooker was sent off in the Aviva Premiership final for swearing and calling referee Wayne Barnes a cheat.

Best believes Hartley has learnt his lesson.

"He's shown this season in particular what a good player he is," said Best. "He's brought a real edge to his game recently, going right to the limit without going past it, which he's maybe been guilty of in the past.

"He obviously digressed a little bit at the end of the last season and it cost him a massive honour: but he's learned a lot from that, you can see. There's no doubting his rugby ability, and he's obviously focusing on that now."

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