IRELAND: Captain’s call still open says Greg Feek

Ireland Rugby Captain's Run, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 23/2/2018'Peter O'Mahony and Johnny Sexton'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Tommy Dickson
Ireland Rugby Captain's Run, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 23/2/2018'Peter O'Mahony and Johnny Sexton'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Head coach Joe Schmidt’s first major decision ahead of Ireland’s opening Test against Australia this weekend will be deciding who will take the captain’s armband.

With skipper Rory Best unable to travel at the last minute due to the recurrence of a hamstring problem it is expected either vice-captains Jonathan Sexton on Peter O’Mahony will lead the side out on Saturday in Brisbane.

However, assistant coach Greg Feek insisted there was a large leadership role Schmidt could count on whatever the decision.

“We’ve got a leadership group that is solid and tight,” said Feek.

“In that group there is CJ (Stander), Peter (O’Mahony), Johnny (Sexton), Conor (Murray) and Earlsy (Keith Earls). It’s a good experienced group.”

Schmidt is scheduled to name his team tomorrow when the captaincy decision will be revealed.

O’Mahony previously captained the British & Ireland Lions in the opening Test against New Zealand last year.

With Best out, Leinster’s Sean Cronin, Ulster’s Rob Herring and Munster’s Niall Scannell will wait to see who will get the starting nod and one will be left disappointed - but almost certainly get an opportunity in the other two Tests.

Ireland finished their acclimatisation programme on Monday and there was a more series air around the training ground yesterday.

Feek said all 32 members of the playing group were fit and would take part in training ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Wallabies in Suncorp Stadium.

“We’re looking pretty good at the moment,” said Feek. “This is probably our biggest day since the tour started so hopefully we get through it and we know where we’re at.

“You couldn’t time it better in terms of turning up here when the weather’s good. It does help waking up with a bit of heat, big yellow’s in the sky and it does help with adapting in.

“Boys were up early and the body clocks will start to kick in, that’s all part of our preparation for the Test.”