Sir Ian McGeechan: Sam Warburton should captain the Lions
Sir Ian McGeechan says Sam Warburton should captain the Lions for this summer's tour of Australia.
Last Updated: 19/03/13 11:01am
The Wales flanker was a hot favourite for the captaincy a year ago but injuries and a loss of form saw others come into the frame.
England captain Chris Robshaw, Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll and Ryan Jones - the man who took over the Wales captaincy when Warburton was hurt in the Six Nations opener against Ireland - all came into the running.
Warburton returned to the Wales starting line-up for their last two matches against Scotland and England - though he was not named captain - and performed superbly.
And McGeechan, who has played for and coached the Lions, says the flanker has done enough to be made captain this summer.
"For me Sam Warburton has come through strongly," he wrote in the Telegraph. "The biggest question mark hanging over him was his ability to stay fit. It was not an indictment of Warburton for him to be held back from the Wales captaincy.
"(Wales coach) Rob Howley did exactly the right thing. What gets you on the plane for the Lions is playing well. Leadership qualities never go away. Your form or fitness can. His last two games have answered all the questions.
"You would have to talk about Brian O'Driscoll in that captaincy conversation, Chris Robshaw as well. In the first part of the tour, Warren Gatland will give every player an opportunity so you need good leaders every time you put out a side.
"You try to implement the same principles of play so that it becomes second nature to the group. That requires strong, collective leadership. Sam Warburton is my front-runner."