Jonny Wilkinson: 'British and Lions require team of captains'

Wilkinson: 'Lions require team of captains'
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England rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson believes that Warren Gatland should share around the captain's armband when the British and Irish Lions tour New Zealand.

Jonny Wilkinson has insisted that Warren Gatland should wait until the days leading up to the British and Irish Lions' first summer outing before deciding on his favoured lineup.

The Kiwi is due to pick his squad in just under three weeks' time for the tour of New Zealand, with the subject of who should captain the side a particularly hot topic of discussion.

Wilkinson believes that a whole team of leaders will be required if the Lions are to achieve success in the summer, though, with one skipper for the entire tour simply not enough.

"Ultimately, every player on that tour needs to be functioning somewhere near the level of captain in order to come back with victories," he told Sky Sports News. "In an ideal world, you want your captain on the field where the action is for as much as possible but at the same time, as I have gotten older, I am a firm believer that no position should ever be pencilled in.

"It is not until the week before the first game that you should know your team. If you have made up your team now then you are judging it on the basis of a different environment to the one you are going to play in. You need to get out there to understand that and that is why this is so, so difficult.

"I think maybe having three or four guys in there that you know can take the role of captain. You then have a tour captain maybe. You know then that of those three or four guys, however many of them end up in the team, they are capable of doing that job. You cannot go out there with this idea that you have one captain.

"You can have one captain who is named captain but you will need another leadership group of five or six who have the same inspirational effect and are treated as captains also."

Sam Warburton is the leading contender to be named as Gatland's official captain, while Alun-Wyn Jones, Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje have also been tipped to take on the role.

Dylan Hartley passes the ball during the England captain's run at Twickenham Stadium on November 8, 2013
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