Ireland 27-3 Scotland: Iain Henderson says Rory Best 'silenced critics' in World Cup win

By Michael MorrowBBC Sport NI in Yokohama
'Unbelievable' Best silenced critics - Henderson

Ireland lock Iain Henderson says captain Rory Best "silenced a lot of critics" in his side's opening 27-3 World Cup win over Scotland.

Best, 37, played the full 80 minutes and scored his side's second try in an impressive display in Yokohama.

"It was class, I was loving sitting on the bench watching Rory out there," said Henderson, who also starred before being replaced after 56 minutes.

"I thought he was absolutely unbelievable today."

Ireland's emphatic victory over the side ranked next highest in Pool A was delivered with their best performance of 2019.

A 100% line-out success rate will have been particularly pleasing for head coach Joe Schmidt after weeks of being asked about his side's ability to dominate the set-piece without experienced line-out caller Devin Toner.

After a heavy defeat at Twickenham last month Best, who will retire at the end of the tournament, came in for heavy criticism as Ireland's line-out crumbled.

However his performance in Yokohama will put to bed doubts over his continuing effectiveness at the highest level.

"I've said it before, it's almost impossible to say what he does until you're in a squad with him and you feel what he adds in a squad," said Henderson.

"A lot of people who have never played in a squad with him saw today what he adds."

Rory Best attempts to get past Scotland's Greig Laidlaw in Yokohama
Ireland skipper Rory Best's form has come in for criticism this year

'Self-evaluation' followed Twickenham trouncing

After Sunday's victory, Best put Ireland's recent improvement down to honest self-evaluation following the humbling defeat by England.

"There were questions about us externally," added the Ireland skipper.

"We knew we had a lot more to give. I think we didn't put enough pressure on ourselves to be in the position we needed to be and to execute the plan we were given.

"I think sometimes you need to draw a bit of a line in the sand.

"We were pleased with the two [warm-up] games against Wales and again today."

Ireland next meet tournament hosts Japan, who began their campaign with a bonus-point victory over Russia on Friday.

A win in Shizuoka would set Ireland well on their way to a World Cup quarter-final where, if they top the group, they are likely to face South Africa.

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