Warren Gatland names Sam Warburton as British and Irish Lions captain

Sam Warburton
© PA Photos
Wales international Sam Warburton is named by coach Warren Gatland as the British and Irish Lions captain.

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has announced that Wales international Sam Warburton will captain the team during their tour of Australia this summer.

The 24-year-old was expected to be unveiled as the skipper to lead the team in today's 37-man squad announcement over the likes of Paul O'Connell and Brian O'Driscoll.

"The last two or three years he's been most successful captain in the northern hemisphere, I have huge respect for him, he leads from the front," said Gatland.

Warburton's appointment comes after he was struck by injury in the early stages of Wales's Six Nations title-winning campaign and decided against resuming as skipper when he returned to the set-up.

Lions squad for Australia tour:

Backs: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Rob Kearney (Ireland), Tommy Bowe (Ireland), Alex Cuthbert (Wales), Sean Maitland (Scotland), George North (Wales), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Manu Tuilagi (England), Owen Farrell (England), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), Conor Murray (Ireland), Mike Phillips (Wales), Ben Youngs (England).

Forwards: Dan Cole (England), Cian Healy (Ireland), Gethin Jenkins (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales), Matt Stevens (England), Mako Vunipola (England), Dylan Hartley (England), Richard Hibbard (Wales), Tom Youngs (England), Ian Evans (Wales), Richie Gray (Scotland), Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales), Paul O'Connell (Ireland), Geoff Parling (England), Tom Croft (England), Toby Faletau (Wales), Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), Dan Lydiate (Wales), Sean O'Brien (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Sam Warburton (Wales, captain)

Wales head coach Warren Gatland after a match on November 24, 2012
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