Paul O'Connell to captain Ireland in Six Nations

21:27, Dec 30 2011
Paul O'Connell will captain Ireland in the Six Nations rugby championship.
NO SHOW: World class lock Paul O'Connell will miss Ireland's tour of New Zealand because of a knee injury.

Lock forward Paul O'Connell will captain Ireland in the 2012 Six Nations Championship, the Irish rugby union has revealed.

O'Connell, 32, will deputise for centre Brian O'Driscoll who misses the tournament due to a shoulder injury.

"The greatest ambition in a player's career is to play for your country, so to captain Ireland is a huge honour for me and I was delighted when (coach) Declan (Kidney) asked me to," O'Connell said in a statement.

"I have been lucky to have played for my country on 82 occasions and during that time I have always felt that the responsibility of leadership should not just rest on the shoulders of Brian and that the senior players are incredibly important."

O'Connell has experience of captaining his country and led the 2009 British and Irish Lions in South Africa.

Ireland begin their Six Nations campaign at home to Wales on February 5, a repeat of this year's World Cup quarter-final in Wellington which the Welsh won 22-10.