DESPITE GOOD REPORTS of Paul O’Connell’s fitness yesterday, it still seems likely that Declan Kidney will choose to take the burden of captaincy off the second row’s shoulders for this game.
That means a new man will be asked to hold a cuddly toy and hold the mascot’s hand as the team is led from the tunnel.
For many, Jamie Heaslip is clearly the heir to the throne, but recent noises from Carton House – including Kidney’s assertion that captaincy experience at Provincial level was not an essential requirement for the job – have pointed to fly-half Jonathan Sexton and his famously inspirational half time team talks.
Outside of Leinster, many feel that Peter O’Mahony or Donnacha Ryan could lead the team as a long-term option. A category Stephen Ferris may also have fallen into before injury robbed him from this run of games.
However, as this is a temporary measure with both O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll due back for the Six Nations; perhaps Kidney would be keen on rewarding a loyal servant. A golden handshake to either Donncha O’Callaghan or Gordon D’Arcy.
Why not Mike Ross?
So, presuming the job won’t go to O’Connell (he’ll lead the team regardless), you tell us.