“You’ve Got To Be In The Trenches. You’ve Got To Be In The Pack.”

Trenches.

Former Ireland and Leinster number eight Jamie Heaslip reckons that forwards make the best captains, as Johnny Sexton’s role as Ireland skipper continues to be questioned.

Sexton has come under fire in recent weeks for his performance in the role, with many feeling it’s time Ireland looked to hand the role to someone else as they build to France 2023.

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Speaking on this week’s episode of the Up and Under Podcast, Heaslip said you’ve got to be “in the trenches” to be a captain.

He also feels Ireland do not have enough leaders in the squad currently and reckons there’s a huge void in the team.

“Personally, I think you’ve got to be in the trenches,” Heaslip said.

“You’ve got to be in the pack.

“But different leaders pop up in different ways and I actually think there’s a big leadership void in the Ireland team.

“And you saw that when Johnny [Sexton] came off. There’s a big leadership void there. Some guys are either not leaders in that way or aren’t ready to step up to being a leader in that way.

“But there are have great captains that have been back-three players, centres, nines, front-row the whole lot.”

But he added that as things stand – Sexton is the best man for the job.

“If we’re talking about leadership I still think he’s [Sexton] the man for the job,” Heaslip added.

“I think there’s still a big step between him and everyone else.”

Tune in to Episode 12 of the Up and Under Podcast for the full conversation.