The excessively humid conditions in Japan was a factor, though not an overriding one for Ireland's below-par showing at the recent Rugby World Cup, according to Rory Best.

Best ended his Ireland career following the defeat to New Zealand at the quarter-final stage - a now all-too familiar exit point for Irish sides at rugby's showpiece event.

The 37-year-old did go on to line out for the Barbarians in recent weeks and today he admitted that a move to prolong his playing career Bristol was tempting. However, he opted not to reverse his retirement plans.        

In a wide-ranging interview on 2fm's Game On where he also talked about possible future projects and why Johnny Sexton, James Ryan and Peter O'Mahony would all fit the bill as Irish captain, Best reflected on the Japan experience.

"People want definite answers as to what went wrong, but there just isn't one," he revealed.

"We prepared as best we could and unfortunately for whatever reason when you look back now we peaked in 2018. We tailed off in 2019, whereas England were tailing off in '17 and '18 and managed to peak at the right time. And while you want to peak at the right time, everyone is preparing to peak to, but there's also a little bit of luck involved."

As part of the World Cup prep, the Irish squad went to a warm-weather training camp in Portugal, but as events turned out that did not prepare them for another meteorological condition

The 124-capped player continued: "We nailed the heat bit, we were in Portugal. It was a hot summer.


"We underestimated the effect the humidity would have. It wasn't on your conditioning, it was on your ability to handle the ball.

"I'm not big into gimmicks, I heard Wales were using baby oil on the ball, and I thought that was just nonsense. Why would you put yourself through that lack of confidence.?

"You're drying your hands to dry the ball and by the time you pick the ball up your hands are soaking because you're sweating so much.

"As the tournament progressed we trained with dry balls and then balls that were soaking wet.

"It took time to get used to the conditions, but overall we just needed to make the handling more appropriate for our game."