MX23RW : Friday, January 18 08:10:41

Brian O'Driscoll, Martin Johnson back Alun Wyn Jones for Lions captaincy

Former Lions captains Brian O'Driscoll and Martin Johnson both back Alun Wyn Jones for the role in New Zealand this summer, but regard Owen Farrell as a candidate.

Brian O'Driscoll and Martin Johnson have both backed Alun Wyn Jones to captain the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand this summer.

Jones has replaced Sam Warburton as Wales skipper for the Six Nations and is considered the frontrunner to get the job for the Lions under Warren Gatland too.

However, O'Driscoll and Johnson - themselves former Lions captains - both believe that England's Owen Farrell is a contender for the role following his improvement under Eddie Jones.

"Owen Farrell plays at 10 or 12 and for me he's a shoo-in for the Test team. I think he has to come into the conversation over the captaincy. His temperament has improved incredibly. Gone is the narky Farrell. He looks calm and controlled and is playing brilliantly at the moment," O'Driscoll is quoted as saying by PA.

"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 added: "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. 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."

This summer's Lions tour gets underway on June 3, with the first Test scheduled to take place at Eden Park on June 24.


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Andy Farrell, the England backs coach looks on during the England training session held at West Park Leeds Rugby Club on October 23, 2013
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