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Stop comparing Garry Ringrose to O'Driscoll, says Best

By Nick Purewal

Rory Best has called for an end to "fantasy" comparisons between Brian O'Driscoll and Garry Ringrose to let Ireland's young centre realise his Test potential.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt spent some 18 months rejecting growing outside clamour to cap Ringrose before handing the gifted midfielder his Test bow in November. Captain Best believes that extra breathing space before being thrust into the international cauldron could prove the making of the hugely-gifted Ringrose.

The 22-year-old's elusive running elicits comparisons with Ireland great O'Driscoll, but Best insists Ringrose (right) must be allowed to be his own man.

"People just want this fantasy that there's another Brian O'Driscoll out there: there isn't," the Ulsterman said. "There's another great, young guy, who happens to be from Dublin who happens to play 13 - but he's not going to be exactly the same.

"There are some things Garry doesn't do as well as Drico, but there are other things he could potentially do better than Drico. He has to be his own player.

"People often want to draw similarities: people saw Drico thrown in as a 20-year-old so say, 'Let's do that with Garry'.

"But the game's very different now as well. You've got to give this guy a chance as Joe (Schmidt) has done, and now he's reaping the benefits of it."

Ringrose endured a difficult day as Ireland opened their RBS Six Nations campaign with a 27-22 loss to Scotland, the four-cap midfielder caught out for Stuart Hogg's first try.

The Leinster star offered a much-improved second half, however, to raise hopes of a return to top form for Saturday's clash with Italy in Rome.

And Best believes he has the commitment and attention to detail to continue to thrive at Test level.

"Garry and Josh van der Flier, they are young guys who put in a huge amount of work," said Best.

"They have quickly gained trust."

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