O'Driscoll losing the captaincy isn't the end of the world; we should trust Kidney's decision
I’ve seen captains over the years who lost confidence in their game when they became captain. Colin Charvis had a terrible time as Wales captain and got completely unfairly abused for his loss of form. That loss of form came from a loss of confidence because of the huge pressures involved.
You would never have known it to look at Brian O’Driscoll though. He has always had such belief in himself. Brian is a confident guy, not just because he’s so talented but because he knew what could happen when you put the work in. That belief radiated out from him as captain and players picked up on it. He always believed that there was a win on the cards, no matter if our backs were against the wall.
It wasn’t wishful thinking or hoping that things would come right. It was a confidence that came from his maturity and it was something that he tried to instil in other players.
That drive and desire to keep achieving and keep succeeding is at the heart of why he’s so disappointed at what’s happened here. I’ve seen enough of him in dressingrooms and in training camps to know what leading Ireland means to him.
It always stuck out for me how proud he was about playing and captaining his country. It was something he rammed home to anyone who was playing under him, to never forget that playing for Ireland is something you have to take so seriously.
So although I was surprised to hear the news, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear that Brian didn’t exactly welcome it.
Was it the right thing to do? We won’t know that for a while yet. The one thing you’d have to say for Declan is that he’s never been afraid of the big decision. Declan has always been liable to pull something out of the hat when people weren’t expecting it. The obvious example was when he put Tomás O’Leary and Denis Hurley into the Munster team for the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Gloucester in 2008.
That came out of nowhere as far as most people were concerned because Peter Stringer and Shaun Payne were seen as key parts of that Munster team.
So maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised by this. Declan does think outside the box a bit, he does try to occasionally do something different that might inspire people. He knows that it’s never good for a team to get stuck in a rut. If he can change the direction of a team, if he can change the morale of a team, he will go for it.
Maybe he saw the dynamic of the team as something that needed altering slightly and so he took a bold decision.
That’s all this is, a bold decision. It’s not earth-shattering, it’s not even really that big a deal unless you’re Brian himself. I don’t see it having an adverse effect on the team’s performance and it surely won’t mean that Brian will bring any less to the team.