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Give Ulster's Rory Best the Ireland captain's job: Ruan Pienaar

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 12/01/2016

Ulster captain Rory Best
Ulster captain Rory Best

Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar has backed his captain Rory Best to skipper Ireland in the upcoming Six Nations.

The Springbok has been Best's team-mate since arriving in Belfast back in 2010 and feels he would be perfect for the role of replacing Paul O'Connell.

"Obviously I'm biased because he's my captain here at Ulster but I think he has all the qualities to be Irish captain," the 2007 World Cup winner, said of Best who has been credited with inspiring Sunday's incredible European Champions Cup comeback against Oyonnax from 23-0 down at half-time to 24-23 winners.

"Hopefully he has the chance to do it. He's been a great leader this season and in past seasons. It's great to have his captaincy and leadership," said South African ace Pienaar.

With Best an Irish captaincy candidate, Les Kiss believes Sunday's winning points kicker Paddy Jackson is now ready to rival Johnny Sexton for the starting No.10 jersey.

"That's probably the next step for sure," he said.

"He's not kidding himself about whether he's a fully-fledged international yet.

"He'd like to have the opportunity to prove that."

Having witnessed Jackson turn the game from the bench on Sunday, Kiss has defended his decision not to start the 24-year-old and his half-back partner Pienaar.

"I trust the players that came in," he stressed. "It might sound silly but I do.

"I knew that, if we needed to go to Paddy and Ruan then they're going to nail a job for you."

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