Two former British & Irish Lions captains believe Owen Farrell should be considered as a candidate to lead this summer’s tour to New Zealand, but both ultimately back Alun Wyn Jones for the post.
Brian O’Driscoll and Martin Johnson see world player of the year nominee Farrell, who has developed into a world-class playmaker under Eddie Jones, as a genuine contender as skipper.
With the Six Nations taking a week off, it was back to Aviva Premiership and PRO12 action this weekend. But who impressed?
Who should lead the British & Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand? Have your say now.
But the pair, who between them have been on seven Lions tours, agree that Wales second-row Jones is the outstanding choice for the role.
“Owen Farrell plays at 10 or 12 and for me he’s a shoe in for the Test team. I think he has to come into the conversation over the captaincy,” said O’Driscoll, who was speaking on behalf of Land Rover, a principal partner of the British & Irish Lions.
“His temperament has improved incredibly. Gone is the narky Farrell. He looks calm and controlled and is playing brilliantly at the moment.
“You don’t want to be picking a tour and a Test captain, ideally you want to be picking the same and I still think Alun Wyn is a great pick for that.
“I’d still have him in my Test team and he’s been playing well. He gets through an insane amount of work.
“He has that important confrontational style and there’s a lot of respect for him in New Zealand, so for me he’s still very much the front runner.”
Johnson sees Farrell as a possibility but England’s World Cup-winning skipper is a big admirer of Jones.
“Owen has obviously been captain of England at the end of games — he will go on tour and he will be an important part of the leadership group,” Johnson said.
“Maybe just let him play, but he could do the captaincy — there’s no reason why not.
“A lot can change and he has played very well, but Alun Wyn Jones maybe has his nose in front.
“I don’t know him but what he says is very sensible. You nod your head when you read what he says and ‘he is right there’ he seems like a sensible guy.”
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