Ireland assistant coach Andy Farrell has backed Ireland captain Rory Best to skipper the British and Irish Lions on next year’s tour of New Zealand.
Farrell joined Ireland as a defence coach in January but insists that Best’s performances for Ireland should put him in contention to captain the 2017 Lions tour of New Zealand.
“There’s no doubt that he’s a contender when he’s doing as good a job as he is for his national team and his national team is doing pretty well,” Farrell told the Belfast Telegraph.
“He’s a big part of that so he has to be right up there doesn’t he?
“It’s just what he’s been through. As a player, the ups and downs of international rugby and when you’ve got 100 caps you’ve certainly been through a hell of a lot.
“Your experience of how you deal not just with your own game and the players around you for the feel of the game in the white-hot heat of the moment is priceless.
“That’s what I’ve been super impressed with, not only is he laying his body on the line but his decision-making and his calmness under pressure in the big games that we’ve been in, certainly since I’ve been here in the last six months, has been fantastic to watch.
“That’s proper leadership, that’s what that is, so anyone who has that skill or that trait has to be up there.”
Lions coach Warren Gatland will name his backroom team on Wednesday with Farrell among the leading candidates to be named on the New Zealander’s staff for the tour.
Meanwhile, Best will have to compete with England’s Dylan Hartley and Wales duo Alun Wyn-Jones and Sam Warburton for the captaincy, however, as seen with former England captain Chris Robshaw in 2013, captaining your country doesn’t necessarily assure you of a place on the tour squad, no less the leadership group.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena
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