Rory Best: My Autobiography: Front row view

Book review: How a ruthless streak brought ‘a fat wee kid’ to the top in Irish rugby

Farewell: Ireland captain Rory Best. enjoys cheering send off in match before leaving for Japan.  Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Farewell: Ireland captain Rory Best. enjoys cheering send off in match before leaving for Japan. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

What makes a successful captain? Talent, the ability to motivate, communication, strategic thinking. We talk of players being born leaders but what’s interesting about Rory Best is that although not over-endowed with these qualities in his youth, he became captain of the most successful Irish rugby team so far.

How did he do it? The answer, mostly, is hard work, an ethic instilled during his idyllic childhood on the family farm in Armagh. Best accepts he was far from the most talented player, but he made himself one of the fittest. The “shy fat lad from Poyntzpass” had big boots to fill following the captaincies of Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell, but when he heads the poll in the squad vote, Best has the full support of Joe Schmidt, whom he describes as Ireland’s greatest coach.

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