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IRELAND'S BEST FOOT FORWARD.

Byline: MICHAEL SCULLY

GOOD humour hasn't deserted the Ireland camp even if some big names are absent through injury and suspension.

Best was sporting a shiner above his right eye when he sat down at Dunboyne Castle yesterday.

The Ulster star was eager to stamp out any speculation as to its source. "It's not from the lack of Valentine Day cards," he joked. Yet Sunday's loss to England has left the players frustrated their Grand Slam dream is over.

In Best's case, he must get up to speed in terms of working with Dave Kilcoyne - the young Munster prop who is favourite for Cian Healy's loosehead role due to the Clontarf man's ban.

Best said: "We haven't had a lot of scrums together but we had some very important ones in Cardiff. I've been watching David, and the Munster scrum has been going well.

"In the few live scrums last Wednesday he went really well. It's going to be another step up."

Best hasn't played against Kilcoyne this year, but Anthony Foley has worked very closely with 'Killer' in his role with Munster.

"Like all young players he brings a lot of enthusiasm and vigour to what he does," said Foley.

"He brings a lot, on and off the pitch."

" Best, though, is not rulingout a start for his Ulster colleague Tom Court.

Best said: "It's a shame not to have Cian there but the quality of the two boysbeing able to step in ishugely encouraging.

"In Munster and Ulster,those two have been stand-out players."

"Tom is not carrying asmuch (weight) as the othertwo but when you see thetight work he's doing in therucks, he's been the topman. He's playing as well ashe has for a few years."

It is a shame we don't have Cian in the team but we are fortunate we can bring in two players of quality to replace him: RORY BEST

CAPTION(S):

UPBEAT Best was in good humour yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 15, 2013
Words:326
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