Belfast Telegraph

Irish debutant Jared Payne will need time to stamp his authority

Editor's Viewpoint

It is tough enough for Ulster's Jared Payne to win his first Irish cap against one of the world's top sides, South Africa, but he will also be wearing the jersey that for years was the preserve of an Irish legend. How does anyone fill the boots of Brian O'Driscoll, one of the finest Irish rugby players of all-time?

The simple answer is that Jared Payne should not be regarded as the new O'Driscoll. The New Zealand-born player will bring his own skills and interpretation to the game and should not be judged solely on how he performs tomorrow. He needs to be given time to make his mark on the side and the autumn internationals will be a great test-bed for him.

He has waited patiently to qualify for Ireland and hopefully tomorrow will be the start of a glittering career for him.

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