Ireland 26-23 Australia
Rory Best hails impact of 'ruthless' Joe Schmidt
ESPN Staff
November 23, 2014
Ireland's players celebrate their win over Australia © Getty Images

Rory Best has hailed the impact of Joe Schmidt's 'ruthless' selection policy, which has seen Ireland's players shed mental frailties that were costing them victories.

Hooker Best believes in previous years Ireland may have failed to close out their tight 26-23 victory over Australia in Dublin on Saturday.

"The pleasing thing is that compared to where we were 12 months ago is that mentally, we stayed in," said Best. "If you look at it 12 months ago we went mistake after mistake, mental switch-offs if you like, but this time round in a similar position, we didn't. But this year we stuck to our system, we came off the line, we hit and stuck, and we really put pressure on Australia.

"Ultimately they were the ones under pressure at the end of the match because they were the ones who had to get points in some shape or form. We put pressure on them, everyone stuck to their job and the big thing for us is that no one threw in the towel mentally. There are a lot of great coaches out there, but Joe is certainly one of the best I've worked with.

"He just expects a high level from you: and if you don't toe the line and you don't come up to his fairly tight standards then he finds someone else that will. It's ruthless, but that's where you want to be. This is a ruthless level we're playing at: we're playing the best teams in the world, the best players in the world. You go back to 12 months ago, you make one small error and you lose a game. On Saturday we didn't and that is ingrained in us now that you stick to the system. You trust the guy to your right and the guy to your left, and ultimately we have systems and protocols in place that can win you games in tight situations."

After Saturday's game, Schmidt was taken to hospital suffering from appendicitis and had his appendix removed over night.

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