Rory Best makes valid point about Jack McGrath's impending Ulster move
The Ulster and Ireland captain believes the arrival of Jack McGrath will benefit current looseheads at the province.
Jack McGrath to Ulster has been in the offing for a couple of months but was finally confirmed by the IRFU (who get in there first) on Tuesday.
The 54-times capped loosehead will leave Leinster at the end of this season and be part of Dan McFarland's squad from 2019/20 after, he will hope, his second World Cup tour of duty.
McGrath has made the move with a firm eye on his international prospects. Having slipped behind Cian Healy for Leinster, and then Ireland, Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne then had him under the pump.
The 29-year-old would back himself to win the battle to be Ulster's No.1 but Eric O'Sullivan, a fellow Dubliner, has really established himself in the province's front row this season.
Ulster captain Rory Best, who was this week unveiled as a Specsavers ambassador, sees McGrath vs. O'Sullivan as a win-win. Best tells us:
"It’s massive, you know Eric’s the sort of guy who’s… he’s a sponge for information, you know, no matter what you tell him he just wants top get better. He wants to learn and, I think, to have a British & Irish Lion in his position up there for him to learn of, for them to share the game time.
"Look, ultimately it’s great that you can have that competition for places and you know with Dan McFarland like, whoever’s playing the best will start for Ulster and whoever isn’t will be in the bench and will be asked to make a big impact when they come on.
"It’s really exciting from an Ulster point of view to bring up a Lion you know, to be signing an Irish qualified British Lion of the quality that Jack brings. Just, even more than the fact that he’s just really such a good guy you know, I think you've got to build your squad, the foundation has got to be your playing ability but I think what adds to that is just, how you interact with the squad, how collective, how tight you can be, amongst that and Jack is just a really good guy around the place."
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) April 2, 2019
It may only be a matter of time before O'Sullivan himself is pressing for Ireland squad inclusion.
If he can keep that No.1 jersey ahead of McGrath, up at Kingspan Stadium, he will definitely get the attention of incoming Ireland coach Andy Farrell and his backroom team.
Rory Best launched Specsavers Audiologists’ ‘Don’t Suffer in Silence’ campaign, that encourages Irish adults to take a more proactive approach to their hearing health. New research reveals that almost half of Irish adults worry about losing their hearing. Best is an advocate of proactive hearing health, gets tested whenever he suffers from hearing symptoms and knows first-hand what it's like to live with family members who have hearing loss.