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Rory Best comes to the defence of Howley after O’Brien’s criticisms

(Photo: Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images)

By Adam Ellis

Ireland captain Rory Best has voiced his views on the criticisms aimed at Rob Howley by team-mate Sean O’Brien in recent weeks.

The Lions tourist skippered the side in their warm-up match against the Hurricanes in this year’s tour of New Zealand, with the three-match Test series ending in a 1-1 draw.

Reflecting on the tour result O’Brien commented that the workload in the lead up to the Test matches had been overly excessive and singled out Rob Howley’s lack of communication as a reason for the team’s shortcomings in attack – a matter Best says O’Brien was wrong to air.

“They’re his feelings but I don’t think he should have singled out one coach,” Best told WalesOnline.

“He didn’t single out anyone else one way or the other.

“Sometimes we just look at the negatives. Sean expressed an opinion. I have no doubt, that if that’s how he felt, that wasn’t the first time he’d said it.

“He’ll have said that to the coaches as well.

“If I was being critical of any coach, it would be the fact that I think Rob struggled with the group in terms of trying to get stuff across, whereas Johnny and Owen drove everything in the second week, for instance, in our attack and had a better plan in place.” – Sean O’Brien

“Seanie is a very passionate character. If he thinks something, he’ll get it out there.”

In his own experience, Best reserved special praise for forwards coach Steve Borthwick after the Lions won 21 out of 27 lineout throws against the All Blacks.

“From a forward’s point of view, I have a massive amount of respect for Steve Borthwick. What he did, the way he coaches, the way he prepares.

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