Ireland want to change Gatland's opinion – Best
|Six Nations: Ireland v Wales|
|Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 24 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Wales & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.|
Ireland plan to prove to Warren Gatland they are the best team in the 2018 Six Nations when they host his Wales side on Saturday, says captain Rory Best.
Gatland labelled England as the best side after Wales’ 12-6 defeat at Twickenham on 10 February.
“We hope that through our performances we can change his mind,” said Best, who will overtake Paul O’Connell as his country’s most-capped forward.
“If it doesn’t change his mind but we win we’ll not really be that bothered.”
Best will win his 109th cap for Ireland on Saturday in a game that will also have special significance for his former British and Irish Lions coach.
Gatland, who was in charge of Ireland between 1998 and 2001 will mark his 100th match as Wales head coach at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
The New Zealander has led Wales to three Six Nations titles during his 10 years in charge.
“To stay for 100 caps at this level is a fantastic feat,” said Best, who captained the midweek side during the Lions tour of New Zealand last year.
“We’re very quick to praise players when it happens, so for a coach to be around long enough to do that is a brilliant achievement.”
Sexton not a concern
Johnny Sexton missed the first part of Ireland’s pre-match training session at Lansdowne Road but the fly-half was able to finish the work out and Best insists that he is not an injury concern.
Joey Carbery trained with the starting team, for the first few minutes of the work out as Sexton received some treatment on a possible back injury but the influential playmaker appeared to be moving comfortably when he joined his team mates and Best said that there were ‘no concerns’ about his fitness.
“He’s grand, he’s just getting a bit older, so he needed a bit longer to warm up,” added the Ireland and Ulster hooker.
“But he came into the tail-end of the session. He was fine, he finished the session.”
Best’s latest appearance for Ireland will also see him become the third most-capped Irish player behind Brian O’Driscoll (133) and Ronan O’Gara (128) and the 35-year-old admitted he would take great pride from surpassing his predecessor in the captaincy.
“To have played alongside somebody like Paulie and now to have played more times for Ireland than he has, it’s just another one of those little milestones you’ll look back on when you finish up with immense pride,” said Best.
“What he brought to Irish rugby and the amount of times he played is a feat in itself.
“It’s not something I’m overly focusing on at the minute, but I think to go past him is obviously an unbelievable achievement.”