VOTE: Who should captain the Lions in New Zealand?

Feb 14, 2017

Players, coaches and captains might not want to look too far ahead, but the opening two rounds of the 2017 Six Nations has only whetted the appetite for this summer’s British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

The scintillating, nail-biting rugby on display so far would suggest that head coach Warren Gatland has a fair few decisions to make between now and April 19.

But as he drafts and re-drafts his squad, one call will dominate his thoughts more than any other: Who should lead the Lions into battle?

Will Greenwood believes Owen Farrell is “leadership material”, while Rory Best, Dylan Hartley, Sam Warburton and Alun Wyn Jones have all been mentioned as contenders.

But who gets your vote?

Rory Best (Ireland)

The hooker missed Ireland’s romp in Italy due to illness, but he has shown impressive leadership qualities since assuming the captaincy ahead of last year’s Six Nations. Would bring a wealth of experience to the role, but not a guaranteed starter.

Owen Farrell (England)

Reports on Monday suggested that Eddie Jones was ready to hand Farrell the England captaincy against Italy. The Saracens man’s influence over England has grown in the last 12 months, and he seems to be a shoo-in to start the first Lions Test.

Dylan Hartley (England)

Hartley appears to have a real battle on his hands to keep his place in the England team ahead of Jamie George. His role in Jones’ men’s unbeaten run cannot be questioned, though, and he is England’s undoubted leader on the pitch.

Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)

Jones led the Lions in the final Test of their victorious tour of Australia four years ago and has assumed the Wales captaincy for the Six Nations. Leads by example whether he is wearing the armband or not, and will have a huge role to play in New Zealand.

Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

The Scotland scrum-half has played a key role in his side’s improvement under Vern Cotter, supplying composure and a deadly boot from the kicking tee. Is unlikely to start in the Lions Test team, however, so may well be an option for the midweek side.

Sam Warburton (Wales)

His decision to relinquish the Wales captaincy this spring has borne fruit with some dominant displays against Italy and England. Led the Lions impressively in Australia as they secured a series win and remains a favourite of Gatland.

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