Friday 24 November 2017

REVEALED - readers select their Ireland rugby captain

Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Joe Schmidt will soon reveal Paul O'Connell's successor as Ireland's rugby captain and readers have had their say on the matter.

A total of 5,134 votes were cast in the recent poll over who should be handed the skipper's armband and the majority of readers have chosen Munster captain Peter O'Mahony as their preferred choice.

Injury means that the 26-year-old flanker will take no part in the upcoming Six Nations, but 38pc of those polled felt the abrasive back-row forward is the most suitable candidate to replace his former provincial colleague.

One of the first names on Schmidt's team sheet when fit, he has captained various teams throughout his career and has been the Munster skipper for three seasons.

Peter O'Mahony
Peter O'Mahony

O'Mahony edged out hooker Rory Best, who commanded more than a third (33pc) of the votes.

The 33-year-old is unlikely to be involved for the next World Cup, but would undoubtedly be a popular choice in the short-term and commands the respect of those around him.

Ireland's most-capped hooker is already a vice-captain, and like O'Mahony, is a provincial captain.

The pair were well clear of third place Sean O'Brien (9pc), who edged just ahead of former Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip (8pc), while only 2pc of voters felt that Connacht star Robbie Henshaw should be given the captaincy.

A key figure in Schmidt's set-up and now a defensive lynchpin in the defensive line, it may be too early to thrust the unassuming 22-year-old into the spotlight further with the additional responsibilities that the role entails.

Voting results:

Peter O'Mahony 38pc

Rory Best 33pc

Sean O'Brien 9pc

Jamie Heaslip 8pc

Johnny Sexton 7pc

Conor Murray 3pc

Robbie Henshaw 2pc

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