Who Should Leinster’s Next Captain Be?
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Nacewa isn’t getting any younger.
With Isa Nacewa now aged 35, it’s hard to see the versatile back captaining Leinster for many more seasons. This raises the question that no one seems to have thought of an answer for: ‘Who will be Leinster’s next captain?’
The on-again-off-again captain of both Ireland and Leinster may only be a few years younger than Nacewa (33), but this should not discourage the Leinster management team as the No.8 has proven time and time again he is ageing like fine wine. Although currently recovering from injury, Heaslip is still making the Ireland squad, even with the likes of CJ Stander and Jack Conan making cases for the green jersey. Some even believe that he should have been handed the captaincy ahead of Rory Best with the retirement of Paul O’Connell.
The 30-year-old is a freak of nature when it comes to the back-row. Playing 6, 7, and 8 with maximum effort, the ‘Tullow Tank’ has gained a reputation of being Ireland’s and the Lions’ battering ram and workhorse. Just look at his try against the All Blacks during the 1st Test of the Lions Tour or his clearing of 3 Frenchmen from a ruck in the 2015 Six Nations as examples of his monstrous performances. Having captained Ireland in the 2015 World Cup warm-ups, he will more than likely make the final short list for the Leinster captaincy.
Having been made the captain of Ireland during the summer tour of the USA and Japan, it seems that Joe Schmidt has been keeping his eye on the flanker for greater roles in the Ireland set-up. Back with his province however, Ruddock has been making decent contributions to Leinster. Although having to deal with difficult competition with the likes of Jack Conan, Dan Leavy, Max Deegan, and having to live up to the likes of Heaslip and O’Brien, Ruddock is certainly in contention for the role having been made Leinster’s youngest ever captain against Aironi during the Magners League.
The former Ireland U20’s Captain has certainly made a name for himself in the past 18 months or so. With the U20’s first ever victory against the Baby Blacks and achieving the best ever result in the U20 Championship, Ryan has been tipped for a meteoric rise to the top of both Ireland and Leinster’s team sheets. Having earned his first senior cap for Ireland before Leinster, he’s set to play a huge role for both club and country in the years to come. Whilst definitely an outsider for the captaincy, his leadership at the U20 level and his work rate on the field have certainly put him in contention.