Rugby Schmidt defends Best as Ireland, Wales make big changes

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Captain’s orders: Rory Best (right) asked to be included on the Ireland bench for Saturday’s World Cup warm-up against Wales

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt responded to a record 57-15 loss to England at Twickenham by making 12 changes to his side for Saturday’s World Cup warm-up clash against Wales in Cardiff.

However, Schmidt branded the criticism of veteran captain Rory Best as “unfair” and added the Ulster hooker to the bench for this weekend at his request.

Best and prop Tadhg Furlong were due to be rested, but Schmidt admitted both asked for extra game time to push themselves back up to top match sharpness.

“They were very keen to get back in and get back involved, they felt they were just a bit off last week,” said Schmidt.

“They felt that it would help them in their preparation if they got a little bit more time t

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