Another busy season of Test match rugby may rule Gordon D'Arcy out of any captaincy considerations at Leinster. ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
in with the new

Leinster and Connacht tight-lipped on captains for new season

The Pro12 league launch is taking place in Belfast on Tuesday and the club captains are usually decided by then.

WITH TWO WEEKS to go to the start of the RaboDirect Pro12, Leinster and Connacht are still without captains.

Munster have piled their chips in behind Peter O’Mahony, following the retirement of Doug Howlett, and Ulster are sticking with their inspirational South African lock Johann Muller.

Leinster were captained by Rhys Ruddock in their 21-19 loss to Ulster at Ravenhill on Friday. New head coach Matt O’Connor may look to utilise Mike McCarthy as much as possible this season, pairing him with Quinn Roux, Devin Toner or Leo Cullen.

McCarthy and Toner started in the second row for Ireland against the USA this summer. The new combination, if replicated at provincial level, could been a reduction of playing time for Cullen, who has captained the side to three Heineken Cups and a league title in recent seasons.

O’Connor told on Thursday that a decision on Leinster’s captain for the season had yet to be reached. He reiterated that statement when he spoke to us last night at Ravenhill. Cullen, Kevin McLaughlin and Gordon D’Arcy appear the likely candidates.

Jason Harris-Wright will captain Connacht in their final pre-season match, against Newcastle Falcons, today. He is one of four captains that Pat Lam has tried out in his first three games at the helm.

Nathan White was Connacht captain last year, after Gavin Duffy sustained a long-term injury, but Lam has a host of viable candidates for the job, including experienced outhalf Dan Parks and new signing Craig Clarke. Clarke led the Chiefs to their second consecutive Super Rugby title last month and is named in the Connacht second-row to face Newcastle.

Flanker John Muldoon, who is also in the running, told that the Lam has a host of suitable contenders for the captaincy. He said, “The decision will be made by the coaches in plenty of time for the league season. There’s Nathan, Craig, Dan, Andrew Browne, George Naoupu and Eoin Griffin. We have lots of leaders in the squad.”

Muldoon added, “I’m thinking more about nailing down a back-row position but if I was offered the role I’d be honoured.”

Good outing

O’Connor, meanwhile, was pleased with the intensity of his Leinster players, and with outhalf Jimmy Gopperth’s performance, in their narrow loss to Ulster.

The Australian brought up the option, again, of adding another experienced body to the side. The senior squad could do with cover in the tighthead and centre positions. Asked if it was too late to add to the playing ranks, O’Connor responded:

Definitely not. There are certain things, time being such a valuable resource, you can’t fit everything in. It was a little bit of, go out and let the boys go out and see what they can do. And maybe work out the issues.

“There are a couple of things there that were pretty important for us, but I thought in our own end the attitude was outstanding and I’m very pleased, proud of them, really.”

- Additional reporting by Sean Farrell

Ulster hand O’Connor losing start to Leinster reign

Wilkinson wins out in French battle with Sexton

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.