'This guy has bundles of ability' - Brian O'Driscoll reacts to Garry Ringrose's scintillating performance
Ireland claimed a record Six Nations win in Rome against Italy this afternoon and one player who looked right at home was Garry Ringrose.
The 22-year-old outside centre had a tough first Six Nations outing in Murrayfield last weekend, but he feasted on some slack Italian defending this afternoon, helping himself to a try after a gorgeous break that took him past three opponents.
The swerved running that finished the score was reminiscent of Brian O'Driscoll in his prime, and speaking on ITV after the game, the legendary Ireland captain was quick to praise the man who many believe will be his long term successor in the 13 jersey.
"It is a nice line, some acceleration left and right and he backs himself," O'Driscoll said.
"That's what it is all about, back yourself to the best of your ability, and this guy has bundles of ability."
Another facet of play where Ringrose excelled was in defence, with the centre making a number of timely reads to shoot out of the line and level Italian opponents. O'Driscoll was similarly impressed with the Leinster youngster's role in shoring up a rearguard that was ruthlessly exposed by Scotland last week.
"He has answered any pressure that has come his way," O'Driscoll said.
"Six Nations is a different beast to November internationals and I think he has handled himself really well. We heard Gordon D'Arcy talk in commentary about his ability to read play defensively. His ability to see play ahead of time is probably what sets him apart."
Jonny Wilkinson was on punditry duty with O'Driscoll, and said that Ringrose mustn't try to copy the former Ireland star as he makes the outside centre position his own.
"He creates his own story and his own thing and it has nothing to do with Brian," he said.
"He won't be Brian's story, he'll never be a better version of Brian than Brian was of Brian. You can only be you."