Gatland questions O'Driscoll's leadership credentials
February 9, 2003

Former Ireland coach Warren Gatland has questioned the decision of his successor Eddie O'Sullivan to hand Brian O'Driscoll the captaincy for the forthcoming RBS Six Nations.

The Leinster centre has once again been given the honour of leading his country after successfully standing in for injured hooker Keith Wood during the autumn internationals.

However Gatland, who is now in charge of Zurich Premiership side London Wasps, belives forward Anthony Foley should lead the side.

"Ireland have earned the right to be ranked alongside England and France among the top three countries," Gatland told the Sunday Independent.

"But I believe their prospects of justifying this status will be seriously undermined by the choice of Brian O'Driscoll as captain of the side," he added.

"Anthony Foley would be my choice. Even though O'Driscoll did a fantastic job in the autumn matches, the demands on him, both on and off the field, will be far greater in the 6 Nations.

"I wouldn't want my best player to be running from his position at centre to seek clarification from the referee about some decision in another part of the field.

"This is what made Keith Wood ideal. But even after years of experience, Woodie's game also suffered under the strain of captaincy.

"Though Brian clearly relished the experience of leading his country to a memorable win over Australia, I think he could contribute far more without the burden of captaincy, certainly at this stage of his career".

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