Rugby World Cup 2015: Rory Best lauds Paul O'Connell's work ethic

Rugby World Cup 2015: Best lauds O'Connell's Ireland example
Rugby World Cup Pool D: Ireland v Canada
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 19 September Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on Radio 5 live sports extra and Radio Ulster FM, the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, with live text commentary online.

Ireland forward Rory Best says Paul O'Connell's work ethic has been the perfect example as the Ulsterman prepares for a third World Cup.

Best's line-out axis with O'Connell has been a key element in Ireland's successes over the past decade.

Hooker Best says O'Connell's "extra professionalism" has been a lesson.

"Paulie will do that bit more in the video room or wherever and you will think: 'That's the extra bit I need to do too'," said 33-year-old Best.

The front row player believes O'Connell's attitude has raised standards throughout the Irish squad as Joe Schmidt's team head into the World Cup after two straight Six Nations title triumphs.

Paul O'Connell greets a young fan after Ireland's win over Australia last November
Paul O'Connell's attitude off the field has endeared him even more to Irish sports fans

"If I want to succeed personally, even within the team environment, I have to make sure that I have all my bases covered so that I am in a position to perform," added Best ahead of Ireland's World Cup opener against Canada in Cardiff on Saturday.

"It doesn't always go as perfectly as you would like but you have to put yourself in a position to try to play the perfect game."

Brian O'Driscoll's remarkable career marked him out as the icon of Irish rugby in the modern era but Best makes a convincing case for the 35-year-old Munster legend to be placed in a similar category.

"Because of how skilful Drico [O'Driscoll] was, all his moments were in a highlights reel and he [deservedly] got a lot of plaudits.

"But being a front-five forward and having played against Paulie and with him, I understand what he does and what he puts his body through, week in, week out.

More from rugby:
England face most pressure - Lomu
Ireland must start Henderson - Ferris
Get World Cup alerts direct to your phone
Rugby World Cup 2015 schedule
For the latest rugby union news, follow @bbcrugbyunionexternal-link on Twitter

"The biggest thing for me to say is that he probably is one of the players in world rugby that I would have the most admiration for."

Best adds that O'Connell's attitude off the field has made him an even more endearing figure.

"He's always been really, really hard and uncompromising on the pitch but he's just a proper gentleman off the field.

"If you ever introduce him to one of your cousins or a brother or your mum or dad, he'll always have time for them and will remember their names.

"Hard as nails on the pitch, never takes a backward step and just wants to win every single moment but off the pitch, he's just a good guy."