An interesting article was published in the Sunday Times this week, where rugby columnist Peter O'Reilly has questioned whether Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip is in fact the best man to do the job required of him by Joe Schmidt.
While O'Reilly acknowledges that Heaslip has all the required skills to do the job on the pitch, he is quite critical of his attitude off of it, and in particular in his dealing with the media.
After suggesting that Rory Best as a possible candidate for captaincy due to his universal popularity, O'Reilly then suggested that Heaslip should receive some competition for his starting position in the form of CJ Stander:
Schmidt surely had Heaslip in mind as officer material when he took over. His No 8 has captained Ireland on nine occasions — with a success rate of 50% — but is now a long shot at best. He has the rugby intelligence to implement a game-plan on the field but off it, he lacks the humility which Schmidt preaches.
Basically, he fails to grasp the concept that the public’s attitude towards you is conditioned by your attitude towards the media. It would also do Heaslip’s rugby no harm if he were made to fight for his No 8 jersey by the newly-qualified CJ Stander.
The article has sparked some debate on social media, with some interpreting the idea as essentially claiming that if you don't pander to the media, they will damage your public image, while others feel that it is a fair assessment by those who find it difficult to warm to the idea of Heaslip leading Ireland.
The idea that CJ Standar should be given serious consideration for a starting place is certainly a valid one, however, the idea that Heaslip's personality and public perception should effect his selection of captain contradicts what Balls.ie's own Donny Mahoney penned during the Rugby World Cup.