Ireland must 'fire into' warm-up games - Best
Rory Best wants Ireland to build up a winning run ahead of the World Cup by producing performances in their warm-up matches.
Joe Schmidt's current 43-man squad has been busy preparing for the tournament, which is due to get under way in Japan on September 20.
However, the Irish will step things up with a game against Italy on Saturday before facing England, with home and away fixtures against Wales concluding their warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup.
The games will give Schmidt an opportunity to assess the players as he must trim the squad to 31 to take to Japan. Best wants those involved to show they deserve to be included, while also building up a head of steam in the process.
"It is about making sure that we produce performances," said the captain. "It's important that we treat each of these games as a Test match and we really fire into them."
Best added: "We want guys to put their hand up and say: 'I want to be in that squad'.
"The more competition for places we have, the more it will drive us on to be successful, and that is what we need to get from these games."
Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.