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Cave backs Rory Best as Ireland set to unveil new skipper

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 20/01/2016

Rory Best learns today if he is the next Ireland captain
Rory Best learns today if he is the next Ireland captain

The identity of Irish rugby's new captain will be revealed at lunchtime today when Joe Schmidt releases his squad for the Six Nations.

Ulster's Rory Best is one of the leading contenders, while Leinster duo Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien have been mooted as the other options to replace Paul O'Connell.

All three have experience of leading the side in the past and Best's long-time team-mate Darren Cave has described his provincial skipper as a "fantastic" candidate to fill the role on a permanent basis.

The centre, who is expected to return from injury against Oyonnax in the pivotal Champions Cup clash on Saturday (1pm kick-off), said: "I think Rory has been one of the main reasons this club has turned itself round from when I started playing.

"We've signed well and certain people upstairs have done a good job and got good signings in but when things stopped going well in 07-08, Rory had plenty of offers. Rory could have gone away and it would have been very easy but he didn't.

"He's been the one who the team was built around. He wasn't captain for a while when Johann (Muller) was here but he's always been the main man, the main leader.

"I think he'd be a fantastic captain for his country and on a personal level I've got a lot of time for him, I like him a lot.

"I think it would be a great honour for him and I hope he gets it."

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