Joe Schmidt is pounding the pavement to promote his critically-pillaged tome 'Ordinary Joe' this week, and though the book is viewed by many as snoozefest, Schmidt is at least saying interesting things at his book events.
Schmidt was interviewed by Newstalk's Joe Molloy last night at the Bord Gáis and was asked his thoughts on who should take over for Rory Best as the next Ireland captain. If fans could vote, James Ryan would be given the job, but Schmidt is quoted in the Irish Independent and the42 today saying that Andy Farrell shouldn't pile responsibility upon Ryan.
“The two vice-captains are Johnny and Pete so if there was going to be continuity, it would be Johnny and Pete."
“But there are some really strong up-and-coming players who may or may not be ready. It’s not my decision to make so I don’t want to pre-empt anyone else’s decision. Faz is very aware of Johnny and Pete having both captained the side when Rory hasn’t been playing.”
As for Ryan's candidacy Schmidt said Farrell shouldn't rush into naming Ryan captain:
The one thing I would just be hesitant about is that I wouldn't want to put too much on his shoulders.
"He's got a great set of shoulders and they're growing all the time, as is the rest of his body. I think it would be great to let him grow into himself before giving that responsibility to him. At the same time, it can help a person grow in stature because they do assume that responsibility and James is a guy that tends to take things in his stride.
Ryan is 23. If he's named Ireland captain, he'll be the same age of Brian O'Driscoll when he was named Ireland captain. Ryan is clearly Ireland's best player, and while fans may crave a fresh start, perhaps its worth taking Schmidt seriously on this point. Both Sexton and O'Mahony are over 30. Perhaps its worth giving the role to Ryan in two or three years, after this time of transition passes.