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O'Gara: Time to change captain

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O'Gara: Why 'it's probably better' that Sexton doesn't captain Ireland

Former Ireland 10 Ronan O’Gara has suggested that he doesn’t think Jonathan Sexton is the natural choice for the Irish captaincy.

An Ireland team steered at 10 by Sexton were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup after a humbling loss to New Zealand in what was yet another disappointing quarter-final exit for the men in green.

While they enjoyed a fierce and at times bitter rivalry on the pitch, the pair became fast friends off it after they shared time at Racing 92, where O’Gara coached Sexton from 2013-2015.

With Rory Best retiring from the game, O’Gara believes the time is right for Sexton to step to the side to allow someone else take over the captaining of the team.

“Johnny is at the other end of the spectrum, I think he is 34. An outhalf, a good outhalf, is always a good leader in his own right, does he need the captaincy?,” O’Gara told Virgin Media Ireland’s Nathaniel Cope.

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“I am not too sure, in the fact that he has so much else on his plate trying to drive the team around the pitch.

“With that you have an awful lot of media work, you have an awful lot on; for example even the coin toss interrupts your routine before a game. Whether he is the official captain or not, he is going to be one of three people hugely important in the dressing room.

“So from my point of view I think it’s probably better that the number 10 isn’t the captain, I think it’s better that you have a forward as captain.”

Many people’s choice for captain is the 23-year-old James Ryan. A darling of the Irish media after three monumental seasons with Ireland and Leinster, Ryan is the odds on favorite to take over as Ireland skipper.

“He makes the game look easy, I think he thoroughly prepared, I think he is a thorough professional, I think he enjoys playing rugby,” O’Gara said of the 6 foot 8 inch secondrow.

“I don’t know because I have never shared a dressing room with him what his qualities as a leader are, but if he is a good leader he should automatically be in contention to be an Irish captain, because these things for some people, you can overestimate it, but a good leader has to have the capacity to communicate well.

“Sometimes you can communicate through your actions, it doesn’t need to be words. So he can lead from the front, it is a great position to be a captain, you look at the influence Paul O’Connell had in his career as leader in the second row and James Ryan and an awful lot of people say there is similarities between them.”

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O'Gara: Why 'it's probably better' that Sexton doesn't captain Ireland