BRIAN O’DRISCOLL has been branded Ireland rugby’s own version of Roy Keane.
O’Driscoll retained the Irish captaincy ahead of Paul O’Connell for next month’s Tests against Canada, New Zealand and Argentina.
And wing Tommy Bowe reckons O’Driscoll has shown he can become just as pivotal for Ireland as Keane was for club and country in football.
Bowe, 24, said: “Brian is similar to Roy Keane. When the chips are down and the team needs a moment of genius, you look to your captain to provide it.
“Brian definitely has that ability in his armoury. He is able to lead by example, produce magic and make things happen. He will be a great captain.”
The Ireland centre was virtually written off after failing to inspire his country in timid campaigns in the 2007 World Cup and 2008 Six Nations.
But O’Driscoll has rediscovered the form which turned him into the British Lions captain three years ago with three tries in Leinster’s opening two rounds of the Heineken Cup against Edinburgh and London Wasps.
And Bowe expects 29-year-old O’Driscoll to fire again for Declan Kidney’s men in the vital Autumn Tests as Ireland bid to cement a top-eight seeding for the 2011 World Cup.
Ospreys’ Bowe said: “He has few weaknesses in his game but it must have been hard for him to play with all the talk of him not getting the captaincy.
“He is a world class player, always gives 150% and he has answered his critics with his recent form.”
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