Rory Best has spoken of his frustration at how comments he made in the media about Joe Schmidt have been negatively portrayed.
After blazing a trail through the competition in 2018, Ireland stagnated in 2019 with their poor form culminating in a dismal showing at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Following that and his subsequent retirement from Irish rugby, Best cited too much detail from management as a reason for their poor displays while also pointing fingers at the players themselves who Best felt had become slightly complacent.
Best’s comments made headlines around the country with many feeling that he threw Schmidt under the bus. Speaking during Eir Sport’s PRO 14 coverage of Leinster versus Ulster on Friday night, the former Ireland captain reiterated that he didn’t intend to throw Schmidt under the bus and that he was without a doubt the best coach he had ever worked with.
The Ulster man also cited his frustration at how the media portrayed his comments.
“What really frustrated me was the actual headlines,” said Best.
“When you read what was written in the article, it was more what my feelings were. People want answers about the World Cup.
“You’re talking in hindsight and I thought as a player group, and me being the captain of that group, that we could have done more and taken more responsibility – that was my point.
“People put headlines on that were not reflective. Anyone who knows me and my feelings towards Joe and how tight we’ve been over the last four years, certainly as captain, would know that he’s the best coach I’ve ever worked with – I think he’s one of the best coaches in the world.
“I just felt a wee bit let down that it looked like I threw him under the bus. That was never my intention.
“At the time, we did everything that we felt was right. I was just looking back and trying to reflect with a bit of hindsight. I was just a bit annoyed that was the way it was portrayed. People have forgotten what Joe has done.”
"He's the best coach I ever worked with.
"I feel let down that it looked like I threw him under the bus. That was never my intention."@RoryBest2 was unhappy at the "not reflective" media reaction to his comments about Joe Schmidt following Ireland's World Cup exit. pic.twitter.com/ia66dqCAtP
— eir Sport (@eirSport) December 20, 2019