Itoje backed to captain Lions

Date published: September 8 2016

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Maro_Itoje_England_training1

Former England and British and Irish Lions flanker Lewis Moody has tipped rising star Maro Itoje to captain the Lions in New Zealand next year.

Itoje, 21, enjoyed a breakout season for club and country in 2015/2016, winning the Premiership and Champions Cup with Saracens before being named European Player of the Year, while with England he was part of the Grand Slam winning side who went on to win 3-0 in Australia.

A former England captain at U20 level, Itoje has impressed players and pundits alike in recent months and appears a certain inclusion in Warren Gatland's squad to head to New Zealand.

Leading the Lions though would complete a remarkable rise for Itoje, making him the youngest captain ever, but Moody believes that despite his inexperience that Itoje has what it takes.

“My left-field choice would be Itoje because I see a little of Martin Johnson in him," Moody told the Evening Standard.

"In 1997, Johnno was named Lions captain to face South Africa when he didn’t have that much experience at that point and Maro, last season, was consistently the best player in the four home unions. 

“If Maro can maintain that form then he is a possibility because he is just everywhere and I would definitely have him playing number six. He is Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate and Courtney Lawes all rolled into one. 

“Like Johnno, he is a natural leader, although Warburton did a wonderful job in Australia. Dylan is having a great run with England but will he be first-choice hooker with Jamie George pushing hard for a starting place?

"Alun Wyn Jones is a hard-nosed individual who is straight-talking. However, I would be surprised if he ended up as the captain.”

COMMENTS