Rory Best wants Ringrose-O'Driscoll comparisons to stop

Both Leinster centres played for Blackrock College

Rory Best wants Ringrose-O'Driscoll comparisons to stop

Rory Best and Garry Ringrose celebrate after Ireland's win over Australia in November. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Nine tries in 39 appearances is what Gary Ringrose has to show for his senior career both both province and country.

Despite the talented Dubliner being in the early stages of his career, he continues to be compared to Brian O'Driscoll. Both men are playing at outside centre for Ireland and went to Blackrock College, hence the comparisons.

Ringrose has had an impressive start to his career for Ireland, but captain Rory Best feels the 22-year-old is being treated unfairly in the comparisons.

"People just want this fantasy that there's another Brian O'Driscoll out there: there isn't another Brian O'Driscoll," Best told the Press Association ahead of Ireland's Six Nations match with Italy on Saturday."

"There's another great, young guy, who happens to be from Dublin who happens to play 13 - but he's not going to be exactly the same."

Best added that while Ringrose has some way to go to match the dizzy heights of O'Driscoll's career, he has the potential to match certain areas in the former captain's game.

Brian O'Driscoll in 1999. ©INPHO/Tom Honan

"There are some things Garry doesn't do as well as Drico, but there are other things he could potentially do better than Drico. He has to be his own player."

"I think people often want to draw similarities: people saw Drico thrown in as a 20-year-old so they say, 'Let's do that with Garry'."

Ringrose made his Leinster debut in September 2015, with calls being made for the centre to feature for Ireland in the Six Nations and in the summer tour to South Africa. Head coach Joe Schmidt finally added Ringrose to the matchday squad ahead of Ireland's win over New Zealand in Chicago, with his debut coming the following week against Canada. Best feels the apprenticeship is now paying dividends.

"Joe brought him into training and let him get his bearings and learn a little bit behind the scenes, and that's definitely paid off."

Ringrose is expected to make his fifth appearance this weekend for Ireland, against Italy in Rome.