Rory Best is still Ireland's "go-to guy" and a key asset on the pitch ahead of next month's Rugby World Cup, according to Brian O'Driscoll.
Speaking to Off The Ball, O'Driscoll said that while Best is not the player he was a few years ago he is still one of Ireland's most important players and one that could be crucial at next month's World Cup.
"There is no doubt he is on the wane, he is 37 years of age", O'Driscoll said of the Irish captain.
"He has been in the front row of international rugby for 12 years. I don't know any human being who would not be massively affected by that and the brutality he has taken."
Best had come in for criticism from pundits and fans alike after his performance in Ireland's 42-point loss to England last weekend, but O'Driscoll thinks that Best does not need to be Ireland's best player to make an impact.
"For me, with Rory Best, he doesn't have to be one of the best players on the pitch he just needs to facilitate for others to do their best job.
"He needs to get his darts right and he needs to scrummage well and he needs to hit rucks.
"He doesn't have to be a ball carrier anymore because his ability to do that over the years has been watered down. He has lost that little bit of spark in the legs.
"So, just do the simple things very well. If he can get his accuracy at lineouts and get our stats much improved from last week."
"His ability to lead and be a cool head at key times is still a great asset to have.
"I think he is still our go-to guy. I don't think you change anything this close to a World Cup. He has had a couple of blips but on his day he is a world-class operator."
O'Driscoll concluded that the current captain's experience and "leadership might be a huge component to have when we get to the difficult moments" of the World Cup.
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