Bernard Jackman has backed Rory Best to become a great Ireland captain.
The Ulster hooker took over the role after Paul O’Connell’s retirement and is now aiming to follow in the footsteps of the legendary second row and also Brian O’Driscoll, both of whom led Ireland to Six Nations championships.
Best’s tenure as skipper has seen a draw to Wales and a loss to France on Saturday but Jackman says any criticism of his performance as captain is off the mark.
“I think Rory is getting a lot of criticism because people are questioning his ability to have managed the referee,” the Grenoble coach told RTÉ Sport’s The Rugby Show podcast.
“But I just think the South African referee [Jaco Peyper] wasn’t really taking on board what Rory said.
“I think he got influenced a little bit by the atmosphere in Stade de France.
“All Rory can do is pose the question.
“It’s up to other people to say if ‘Oh, if Paul had said it or if Brian had said it or if ROG had said it, he might listen more but...even though they were phenomenal captains, there was times that they couldn’t get onside with the referee.
“I think it’s too early to judge Rory. I know one thing – the players will follow Rory anywhere he asks them to go.
“I think he’s going to be a good captain for Ireland.”