Brian O’Driscoll will lead Ireland into battle in the GUINNESS Series 2009, after head coach Declan Kidney confirmed that the Leinster centre will continue in the role for the upcoming three November Tests…

The series will get underway at Croke Park on Sunday week when Robbie Deans’ Australian side take on the Grand Slam champions.

Confirming that Brian O’Driscoll will continue as Ireland captain for their opening internationals of the new season, Declan Kidney heaped praise on the Leinster centre, who has captained his country full-time since 2004, while also commending others in the Irish squad for their leadership skills.

“Paul (O’Connell) has captained the Lions and captained Munster quite well, Donncha (O’Callaghan) has captained the Lions and Ronan (O’Gara) has captained the Lions. Ronan has captained with Munster and Ireland also,” he said.

“In Brian’s case, he brings a lot of experience to it, like the other lads would do, he is motoring well at the moment so we just felt it prudent (to pick him).

“It’s been a long time since we were together, six or seven months, so, for continuity and for a whole host of reasons really, we decided to stay with him.”

But the Irish management will continue to take a series by series approach to the captaincy, meaning that they may opt for a new man when Ireland defend their Six Nations title in the spring.

“It’s like we dealt with it last year, it is just on a series by series basis,” Kidney continued.

“That helps in Brian’s case, too, as it doesn’t heap pressure on him for a whole year and allows him to come in and be captain and then just get on with his game in December and January.

“We will see him again come February but I think any one of a host of guys could actually do that. He was delighted (to retain the captaincy) and that is the thing – he is excited about it as ever really,” said Kidney.

“He was really keen on it and that’s an important part, too, because captain is a bit like some of the ancillary jobs that are going, because not only do you have to play, you have to give a bit of yourself to the other members of the team then, too.

“If anything, his enthusiasm for the job is growing and that is a great thing because it feeds into the team.”