Six Nations 2013: Best says injuries not to blame for Ireland’s poor results

Six Nations 2013: Ulster hooker Rory Best says Ireland can't blame injuries for their poor results against England, Scotland and France

Rory Best insists Ireland’s injury problems are no excuse for a disappointing Six Nations to date, and insists they will be going all out for a third-placed finish to end their campaign on a high.

Ireland’s championship peaked within 40 minutes, with Declan Kidney’s men leading Wales 23-3 at the Millennium Stadium and 30-3 shortly after half-time during the opening match of this year’s competition.

Despite a Welsh rally, Ireland returned home with a 30-22 win over the reigning Grand Slam champions but that was about as good as it got.

A loss at home to England on matchday two was followed by a surprise defeat against a gritty, determined Scotland side at Murrayfield before last weekend’s 13-13 draw with France, with Ireland having led 13-3 at the break.

The results can be put in to context by Ireland’s lengthy injury list which has seen the likes of fly-half Jonny Sexton, Gordon D’Arcy, Simon Zebo and Chris Henry, as well as long-term absentees Tommy Bowe and Paul O’Connell, all spend time on the sidelines.

Sexton is set to return to the starting XV, having injured his hamstring against England, for this weekend’s trip to Italy, but Best is adamant whoever plays for Ireland should be good enough to compete and there are no excuses for failing to deliver in this year’s championship.

“I think you have to treat the situation for what it is. We’re making no excuses for the injuries. We as a group see ourselves as better than winning just one game,” said Best.

“We have been very unlucky, very unlucky in a few situations, but there have been other situations that we can control where we haven’t done as well as we should have done.

“We would be hoping to go in and finish third in this Championship, while it’s never acceptable for any Irish squad, especially in this modern era, when we look back potentially on the only two games we may end up losing, we had a lot of chances to win those games.

“Bar maybe a little bit of experience, you change those two results and you have a different campaign.

“We are seeing a lot of positives in it, but still, at the same time, we expect to win more than one game in a Six Nations.”

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