The time for James Ryan to permanently assume the captaincy of Ireland has come in the eyes of the public. This has been the general response since it was announced on Tuesday that the lock will lead his country against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
His chance in the Autumn Nations Cup comes in the absence of the injured Jonathan Sexton. The fly-half succumbed to a hamstring injury in the victory over Wales in Dublin on Friday, meaning the 24-year-old will now lead his country for the first time.
The 35-year-old Sexton took over from Rory Best at the end of the World Cup last year, but Ryan has always been viewed as the long-term Ireland captaincy option. The lock has been his country’s best performer for the past two years now and has been operating at a world-class level.
Now that the Leinster forward has been named captain by head coach Andy Farrell, the overwhelming view online is that this must become a permanent fixture.
This is not only the natural decision to make given the way Ryan already leads from the front, but this would also relieve Sexton of the burden he has been carrying as captain throughout 2020.
With Sexton injured, Ireland have a new captain to face England https://t.co/JcUZAnf5Mo
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 17, 2020
There is a case that his game in green has dropped since succeeding Best, while he also created controversy for his reaction towards the coaches box when replaced during Ireland’s Six Nations loss last month to France. He apologised to Farrell but his reputation was damaged with ex-Ireland skippers Brian O’Driscoll and Keith Wood criticising his behaviour.
The hope would be may that Sexton might be able to conjure his best form when he returns from injury should this appointment of Ryan be a permanent one.
There are of course members of the squad with more experience both in the Test arena and as captains, notably Peter O’Mahony who skippered the 2017 Lions in their first Test, but with an eye on the 2023 World Cup, the consensus is that there is no one better suited for this role than Ryan.
Saturday will be a baptism of fire for the second row, with Ireland hoping to arrest a three-match losing streak against England and take control of their Nations Cup group.
Time for this to be made permanent and leave Jonny heal and then play out what is left of his Ireland career
— CompuWhizz (@AskCompuWhizz) November 17, 2020
Has been captain in waiting since captaining the U20’s to the world cup U20 final after beating the baby blacks
— Adrian Cox?? (@kensafs) November 17, 2020
Personally think we should have him as captain from now on. Congrats James
— MH (@hean_bean) November 17, 2020
Brilliant. The time has come.
— TMcB (@lilirishtravels) November 17, 2020
Yes! Now give him the captaincy full time.. this man has everything we should look for in a leader, A winner, cool under pressure, A serious athlete who looks the part too, all 6.8 feet of him.. some learning to do no doubt but how did any of us learn anything, set this man loose https://t.co/bZ8BN91tjx
— Jpv (@Monkeysocks36) November 17, 2020
James Ryan should have been giving captaincy when best hung his boots up. #IRFU
— Lee Bicker (@LeeBicker) November 17, 2020
James Ryan is a good call for Irish captain. He has been tipped as a future captain for a while now so makes sense to get him as many games as possible under his belt.
— Master Of None Podcast (@MasterOfNonePod) November 17, 2020
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