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Published: 14:07 | 21/1/16

Wallace backs new skipper Best


Former Ireland international Paddy Wallace has backed the decision to instal Rory Best as captain ahead of the RBS Six Nations championship next month.

The out-half and centre, who played alongside Best both for Ulster and Ireland, believes that the battling hooker has all the qualities needed to make a good captain of the international team.

Wallace accepts that Best is a different type of character from previous incumbents Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell, but believes he has a lot to offer and will garner respect both on and off the pitch.

"From a public profile point of view he wouldn't have the same draw as a Paul or a Brian, but within the squad there is no more respected man and I think that's what you need as a captain," he told RTE.

"You want to be able to express your views and get across your points to the players and have them listen and engage with you. Rory has that in spades.

"One of his great qualities is his attention to detail.

“It's not only on the pitch where he has great influence, but also off it in terms of challenging management and suggesting different methods to coaches ahead of games.

He would also make sure that the wives and girlfriends feel included."

Wallace is also pleased to see that Joe Schmidt has opted to include Ulster centre Stuart McCloskey in his initial 35-man panel and believes the 23-year-old can make a big impression.

"He was a fantastic player for Ulster last year but sometimes when you get to your second season and teams do more analysis on you then that second season can be a lot harder. But now he has added a lot of subtleties to his game," he pointed out.

"Even though he is a big, strong guy that Ulster use to get a cross the game line, he can bring other players into play. He’s also an underrated passer of the ball and can offload out of the tackle as well.

"It will be a great few weeks for Stuart to be involved in the squad and to be around different players from different provinces. He will learn a lot."

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