Six Nations 2017: Rory Best says Ringrose comparisons with O'Driscoll are 'fantasy'
|RBS Six Nations: Italy v Ireland|
|Venue: Stadio Olimpico Date: Saturday, 11 February Kick-off: 14:25 GMT|
|Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Radio Ulster; text commentary on BBC Sport website|
Rory Best wants an end to "fantasy" comparisons between Brian O'Driscoll and Garry Ringrose to let Ireland's young centre realise his potential.
Ringrose, 22, made his Six Nations debut as he earned his fourth cap in last weekend's surprise 27-22 defeat by Scotland at Murrayfield.
The Leinster youngster was left exposed for Stuart Hogg's first try but Best says Ringrose must be given time.
"There isn't another Brian O'Driscoll," said Ireland captain Best.
"People just want this fantasy that there's another Brian O'Driscoll out there.
"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.
"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."
Ireland's record caps holder O'Driscoll had barely retired when Ringrose started to break into Leinster's first team in 2015.
Comparisons with the 133-cap centre followed immediately but Ireland coach Joe Schmidt resisted any temptation to pitch Ringrose into the Test team until last November.
After making his debut against Canada, Ringrose's first international try helped the Irish earn a 27-24 win over Australia and Jared Payne's absence meant that he formed Ireland's centre partnership at Murrayfield alongside Leinster team-mate Robbie Henshaw.
Ringrose left exposed for first Scotland try
An outnumbered Ringrose was unable to prevent Hogg's first try last weekend after he was left with no option but to attempt an intercept as the Scots had an overlap.
Ringrose regrouped in the second half to produce two turnovers to help spur an Irish comeback which eventually fell just short.
"You've got to give this guy a chance as Joe [Schmidt] has done, and now he's reaping the benefits of it," added Best.
"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.
"You see with Garry and Josh van der Flier, they are two great examples of young guys who put in a huge amount of work.
"They put in a lot of time and have quickly gained trust by the way they prepare to train, then the way they train - and after that the way that they have both played."