POLL: Who would you like to succeed Paul O'Connell as Ireland captain?

Joe Schmidt will be considering his options

POLL: Who would you like to succeed Paul O'Connell as Ireland captain?

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and Paul O'Connell ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

It's the beginning of a new year which means the next major tournament for the Irish rugby team is only weeks away.

But who will lead out Ireland for the Six Nations opener against Wales in Dublin on February 7th?

Due to Paul O'Connell's international retirement after the World Cup, it is a decision Joe Schmidt will have to make and he will announce his decision this week.

The expected candidates are:

Peter O'Mahony: Munster captain and allies ferocious work-rate with leadership qualities. However, an injury sustained during the World Cup leaves him sidelined from immediate on-field action. The 26-year-old has also captained Ireland at U-18 and U-20 level.

Rory Best: Ulster's skipper is seen as a leading candidate for the position as an experienced campaigner with 89 caps. The one minor quibble might be his age as at 33 he may not be available for many more international campaigns beyond the next couple of years.

Jamie Heaslip: The Leinster back-row has captained Ireland before after taking over from Brian O'Driscoll in the 2013 Six Nations. Highly experienced and extraordinarily durable, the 32-year-old is a likely ever-present for the next few campaigns.

Sean O'Brien: The Leinster flanker is another one touted as a potential successor to O'Connell. The 28-year-old is one of Schmidt's first names on the team-sheet when fully fit and can lead by example.

Jonathan Sexton: The former Racing Metro out-half is a leader and playmaker in his own right so could be a viable option for the position.  

But who would you like to see taking over the mantle. Let us know in our Twitter poll: