Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Warburton to lead Lions - McGeechan

27th April 2013 14:07


Sam Warburton Wales v England SN 2013

Sam Warburton: Lions captain?

Former British and Irish Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan has tipped Sam Warburton to captain the side on their upcoming tour to Australia.

Wales openside flanker Warburton is the overwhelming favourite to get the nod but Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll and lock Paul O'Connell, the captains on the last two Lions tours, are also in the running.

O'Connell was McGeechan's choice on the tour to South Africa in 2009 but he expects new Lions boss Warren Gatland to name Warburton as his captain for the three-Test series against Australia.

"It's going to be an interesting one," McGeechan told the Welsh Rugby Union's official site.

"I think Warren will be looking at Sam Warburton because he's worked with him.

"He knows him well, he's had him as his captain in the World Cup with Wales and you do have to have that captain-coach relationship,"

But although McGeechan believes Warburton is the favourite to skipper the tourists, he also hailed O'Connell's attributes.

"Paul was outstanding against Quins and he's the sort of player who brings out that passion and edge in the toughest of environments," he added.

"It was almost his will that drove Munster to a win against a team that nobody probably expected them to beat.

"The plus is that he's hardly played any rugby this year so he's going to be fresh and, if he's 100 percent fit, then he's a good person to have on the tour because he understands the Lions and what they're about.

"He was a great captain in 2009 and, whether he's captain or not, I'd have him on the tour because you need people like that in the group, keeping the right focus at the right time and saying the right things at the right time."