Rory Best has a very interesting reason for not singing to Ireland's anthems
Rory Best is one of the finest captains Ireland has ever had.
Following on from the legendary likes of Willie John McBride and the selfless Paddy Johns, Best has taken on the role with great spirit and determination. Ever since he took over from Paul O'Connell on a permanent basis, Best has overseen an influx of young stars while helping Ireland to famous wins over Southern Hemisphere giants.
His commitment to Ireland's cause will never be in doubt. The man broke his arm against New Zealand in 2013 and was still hitting rucks like a mad man.
RTE Sport [via YouTube]
This Friday will mark Best's 103rd appearance for Ireland and he seems to be getting better with age.
He is ceaseless when it comes to hitting and clearing rucks, running support lines, standing pillar or guard when needed, making those inch-gaining carries that are so vital and getting the set-pieces spot on so Ireland can have an attacking platform.
He has been a leader within the Irish squad for years but his captaincy has seen that role increase over the past 18 months. He is a gem when it comes to talking to, and influencing, most referees. And, when Ireland fell behind to Australia last November, he was the voice of focusing calm. Tadhg Furlong recalled:
"Rory pulled us in and said, Right, next job'. You have to focus on what you can do next. You can't really wallow in self pity in there and start to panic. You have to get down to basics and that's kick-off and everyone executing their roles.
"Rory was real calm, there was no panic in there.
"I suppose testament to the man on his 100th cap to play the way he did and have such influence over the team. Especially when changes started coming."
He is everything we would want an Irish captain to be but he does not partake in the anthems. It's too much for him.
As a proud man of Ulster, Best has an understandable pass from bellowing Amhrán na bhFiann but he does not sing along to Ireland's Call either.
Deportes 2 [via YouTube]
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt says there is a very simple reason why Best opts not to get involved. Ahead of Ireland's Friday night clash with Wales, Schmidt said:
"I think by the time you get that close to the game Jamie Heaslip, Bestie, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray, experienced guys like Rob Kearney at the back, Keith Earls, they have all been here before, they seem to have a pretty good idea of what level they need to get to here and that influences the players around them.
"Rory is a really good example. He said he doesn't sing the anthems because he knows it would, emotionally, heighten his emotions, probably beyond the level he feels is best for him to be in control.
"He kinda self-regulates and in the end most players self-regulate really well, so you just don't want to get in their way, they are experienced athletes and they also have a ripple effect on the team so you let them ripple in. They are calm, concentrated, highly-motivated in their demeanour, you hope that the ripples through."
It is interesting to note that Ireland vice captain Jamie Heaslip is another who does not get too carried away with the anthems and pageantry before Test matches.
Some players, such as Peter O'Mahony, Devin Toner and Donnacha Ryan, give it absolute socks and look completely fired up. Each to their own. Whatever gets your head in the game.