Leinster’s Rob Kearney admits he might not be best placed to take over from Brian O’Driscoll but says he would jump at the chance to captain Ireland.
With O’Driscoll out of action until next summer, Declan Kidney is in need of a new skipper with full-back Kidney, Ulster hooker Rory Best and Munster lock Paul O’Connell the leading candidates.
Kearney, who has guided Leinster to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table, is just 25 but does have captaincy experience, having led Ireland U19s at their World Cup in 2005.
And while he concedes both Best and O’Connell may be more likely to get the nod, Kearney concedes he would relish the chance to lead his country in their Six Nations opener against Wales on February 5.
"When your name is mentioned as having the attributes for that role, you take it as a compliment," Kearney told the Irish Independent.
"It is the highest honour and what you want to do.
"But it comes down to putting your best captain out there to win the game. Rory and Paul are the vice-captains and that would suggest they are the best options.
"I think it's a role you grow into. It is difficult for full-backs because you are not in the heat of the action, and you want your captain to be an inspirational figure, and sometimes full-back is a difficult position to be inspirational.
"But every player wants to captain their country, so we will see down the line."