The IRFU have revealed that Rory Best was selected as Irish captain after a secret ballot by the squad.
The IRFU confirmed to Press Association that Best topped the votes after players were polled during their squad get-together at Carton House earlier this month. It is notable that Joe Schmidt left the decision down to his players rather than imposing a decision.
At Wednesday’s official Six Nations launch, Schmidt heaped praise on his new skipper while Best himself appeared to be ready to take on the challenge. He said:
“Speaking to Paul before he took over from Brian O’Driscoll, it was a big challenge stepping into those shoes.
“And for Brian, before that, taking over from Woody [Keith Wood]. Every time, there’s a bit of a change in the captaincy, you’re filling big shoes because they’ve been pivotal parts of Irish rugby.
“It’s a challenge, but I think the one thing that certainly Paulie did really well was he didn’t change how he went about things. He got put in there because of how he was around the place.
“You don’t have to reinvent things just because your captain. You just keep trying to lead by example.”