O’Connell coy on Ireland captaincy

Ireland second row tipped to be handed skipper’s role by new coach Joe Schmidt

Paul O’Connell watches a training session during the recent British and Irish Lions tour

Paul O’Connell watches a training session during the recent British and Irish Lions tour

Thu, Jul 18, 2013, 12:19

Paul O’Connell has played down talk of taking up the same role with Ireland, telling RTE Radio this morning that he doesn’t expect to be offered the job by new coach Joe Schmidt.

Schmidt has yet to announce who will lead the team against Samoa, Australia and New Zealand in the November internationals with O’Connell, Jamie Heaslip – who was entrusted with the role during the Six Nations earlier this year - Jonathan Sexton and Peter O’Mahony believed to be amongst the frontrunners.

But O’Connell, who has captained Ireland 11 times when Brian O’Driscoll was injured in the past, told the John Murray Show today that it is not an issue for him at the moment.

“I don’t think it’s really going to happen so I haven’t given it much thought,” he said. “Captaining is something I enjoy but when I don’t have it I tend to enjoy not having it as well.

“There’s a lot of really good young players coming through that are real leaders and capable of leading Ireland. The likes of Jamie, who is doing the job at the moment, has a fantastic record with Leinster and probably didn’t get as much credit as he deserved with Ireland.

Johnny Sexton, Sean O’Brien - Peter O’Mahony did the job this summer. There’s a lot of good young guys coming through there and I’d happily serve under one of them or help one of them out.”

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