Ireland's Best wants perfect performance against England

Ireland's Best wants perfect performance against England
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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland captain Rory Best has called on his side to produce their greatest performance as they begin the defence of their Six Nations title against England at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

The hooker believes England have the quality to match the Irish, and is predicting a physical contest between sides who know each other inside out.

"We're going to need the best game of rugby that this group has ever played, because that's what it will take to win this weekend," Best told reporters on Friday.

"They will be physical, but they will also play with a lot of width and speed. That's their plan.

"There weren't many surprises in their team selection. It will be about who can win that arm wrestle up front."

Ireland defeated world champions New Zealand in the November internationals and are among the favourites for this year’s World Cup in Japan.

"I think there is still more and we've got to find more," Best said. "There's no doubt we'll need it and this is Six Nations rugby, it's different to the autumn internationals.

"The autumn internationals is playing a team that's a little bit unknown. Argentina and New Zealand, we study them but we don't play against them in Europe in the Six Nations every year.

"England know us inside out, they probably know us a lot better than the Southern Hemisphere teams do."

Best is looking forward to the competitive edge the Six Nations provides, and the added pressure that will put on the team to repeat last year’s title success.

"None of us ever treat the autumn internationals as friendlies but, ultimately, that's what they are.

"This is a competition, a championship and all of that squeezes the pressure on you and creates a different sort of atmosphere," Best added.

"It probably means you have to play to a higher level than we did in November."

Ireland beat England 24-15 at Twickenham last season on their way to a clean sweep of five victories in the Six Nations.

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)

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