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Rory Best's ability as leader will spur on Irish Six Nations charge, says Roger Wilson

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster's Roger Wilson believes Ireland are in the best possible hands for their Six Nations title defence with his provincial skipper leading the way.

Rory Best was named Irish captain two weeks ago and will lead the side out against Wales in the opener on Sunday at the Aviva Stadium (3pm kick-off).

"Rory is the right man for the job without doubt," said Wilson yesterday. "He's done an amazing job here, week in, week out.

"Consistently he's our leader, the one who galvanises the squad during the tough times. He's always leading from the front and he'll do the same with Ireland."

In what is being described as one of the most open Championships in recent years, Wilson, who won his sole international cap in 2005, says it's difficult to predict how Ireland will fare.

"It's so hard to pick results in the Six Nations," he said. "The World Cup is long in the past now and teams haven't played since but they'll certainly be under good leadership with Rory."

Luke Fitzgerald was yesterday ruled out for the entire Championship thanks to a knee injury sustained in training last week.

The luckless Leinster back, who scored a try off the bench in the World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina last October, has missed all but one of Joe Schmidt's Six Nations games in charge due to fitness issues.

He joins Iain Henderson, Tommy Bowe, Peter O'Mahony and Martin Moore on the sidelines while Cian Healy, Chris Henry and Mike Ross will play no part in the opening two rounds.

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