Arguably, Brian O'Driscoll is the people's choice to take the armband in what is expected to be his last year of international rugby. The 34-year-old was stripped of the role by Joe Schmidt's predecessor Declan Kidney ahead of the this year's Six Nations after nine years as skipper. O'Driscoll remains a leader even without the official role, as he proved during the Six Nations and British and Irish Lions tour.
Paul O'Connell is another Ireland international who has a wealth of experience to call upon when it comes to leading sides. The 34-year-old is no longer captain of Munster after Peter O'Mahony took over from the lock at the start of the current season. O'Connell has produced some of his best performances in recent months (both for Munster and British and Irish Lions). However, he is an injury doubt for Samoa and could affect Schmidt's decision.
The Leinster number eight is Ireland's most recent captain, having succeeded club team-mate O'Driscoll earlier this year. Heaslip has the experience of working with Schmidt at Leinster and remains a leader in the Irish squad. For Schmidt, Heaslip would be the least controversial choice.
The new Munster captain Peter O'Mahony would certainly be a choice with Ireland's long-term future in mind. With the likes of O'Connell and O'Driscoll available to guide the back row through tough moments, the 24-year-old will have no shortage of mentors. However, taking over the captaincy at club and international level could prove too much of a burden.
- Sports & Recreation
- Joe Schmidt
- Jamie Heaslip