Lions tour blamed for England's poor form in six nations

Rory Best has lead Ireland to only their third Grand Slam

Rory Best has lead Ireland to only their third Grand Slam

President Michael D Higgins yesterday led praise for the Irish team after the Grand Slam win on St Patrick's Day. You never really find out about yourselves unless you have these runs.

"The only thing I can control is coaching the team. It's happened now. I'm sure we'll go away to South Africa and you'll see a response".

"Some guys have come in and done really well - others are probably going to struggle to participate in the future", he said.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has said: 'If I was going to stay coaching worldwide rugby then I'd stay coaching the All Blacks'.

Best, who is Ireland's third most capped player with 111 and only legends Brian O'Driscoll and Ronan O'Gara ahead of him, said to do it with such a great bunch made it that bit more special.

"To show the steel and commitment that they did when we went behind to France eight minutes from time in Paris (the first match) was outstanding and rounded off with the exceptional talent Johnny (Sexton) has of putting the ball between the uprights". "We just have to decide if we have the time to get them ready for the World Cup".

"It's up there as the biggest highlight of my career".

"We knew we had to change and sometimes that hurts".

We have spoken about leadership density - having more leaders on the field - and that is something that is a slow burner, you have got to build that, you have got to keep working on it. It was one of those days where we took a few set plays we wanted.

"Yes they've lost three in a row and that's the reality, but it doesn't make them a poor side and nor does it mean they're in crisis".

Defensively that was definitely our best display in the competition. We hadn't followed through on his plan before this.

"Look, Joe (Schmidt) hasn't said "New Zealand is the target" but your ambition is to be the best team in the world and to do that you have to beat the best team in the world".

"The defence was huge, we had to really fight our way out of the 22, there was a heck of a lot of character shown".

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