Ireland coach Kidney gives Best time to recover from injury
Ireland coach Declan Kidney is hoping injured hooker Rory Best can lead the front row against the Welsh on Saturday.
The hooker, who has 53 Test caps to his name, hurt his shoulder in Ireland's 36-6 win over Italy on Sunday.
But Kidney is giving his first-choice hooker every opportunity of making the team.
"In tournament football you always have to take each day as it comes and he's made nothing but progress since Sunday. If he keeps going at this rate then he has a chance."
If Best was unable to start, however, Kidney said Damien Varley could fill the void on the substitute bench if Sean Cronin was elevated to starting hooker.
"No, no problems at all, he's doing the training with us all week."
Kidney defended his selection of Ronan O'Gara at fly-half over promising Jonathan Sexton, saying it was a tough decision.
"We have a good squad and I'd be comfortable with any of the boys playing. The difficulty has been from the very start not so much who to play, as who not to play."
"It would be wrong of me to try to bracket it into anything, other than it's one of these genuine, tight calls."
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll said the back row has improved as the tournament wears on, and noted their carrying ability was not as surprising as the public had thought.
"It's always nice getting plaudits from people outside, but at the same time I don't think it'll affect their mindset. I don't think they'll be letting all the chat about them affect their performances in any way."
"There may have been people who've been a bit surprised by them, but we know they've had that in their armoury for a while and it's been building."
O'Driscoll said a number of Welsh players had been performing well at the World Cup, including young captain Sam Warburton and Jamie Roberts, who has been one of the most consistent players so far in the tournament.
"Sam Warburton's played very well, he's made life very difficult for teams at ruck time and he's really stepped up to his role as captain.
"(Jamie Roberts) has done well. He's mixing his game up well. He'll be a handful - but nothing new there."
"One aspect of his game that hasn't changed is his ability to carry the ball in contact and make gain lines. Teams play off go-forward ball and he's one of their go-to guys for that."
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