George Hook believes that Ireland now has leaders all over the pitch, but Paul O’Connell is the greatest of them all.
The Irish captain will lead his team out at Twickenham tomorrow with a Triple Crown in their sights and Hook says he is optimistic because of the leadership emanating all over the pitch.
In the Munster second row, he believes Irish rugby has the greatest leader of them all.
“Everybody thinks of Willie John McBride,” the pundit told The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk today.
“I think I can say that I can say here today, that O’Connell, in the context of the team, is almost better.
"McBride was a great player, but he didn’t effect the team in the same way O’Connell does.
“O’Connell is a leader of Napoleonic levels.”
Hook is delighted to see leaders emerging and in particular, one jewel in the crown comes in the back row.
“Peter O’Mahony is a leader.”
“This young Cork fella will undoubtedly be a future Irish captain. He is going to put down one of the hardest, physical 80 minutes you can imagine.”
“If you met him in the street, you wouldn’t think he would kill a fly, but then put him onto a rugby pitch and he becomes a one-man panzer division.
The RTE pundit also paid tribute to his bravery at the breakdown area.
“He has to have his feet on the ground but hands over the ball, so he is bent double.” “Then you will have a 20 stone English man coming in the opposite direction.”
“It is bravery to the point of foolhardiness.”
Hook also said that his attire for the studio panel tomorrow, which is eye-catching and colourful at the best of times, will be his most outlandish to date.
“It could be a first for Irish sports broadcasting,” he said.