British & Irish Lions skipper Brian O’Driscoll has paid tribute to Martin Johnson while insisting he aims to put his own mark on the captaincy rather than copy his predecessor.
The Irishman will lead the Lions on their tour of 11-match tour of New Zealand, which will incorporate three Tests, and insists he will not let the captaincy affect his game in any way.
O’Driscoll told the Daily Mirror: "Johnno was a natural-born leader, being captain didn’t make him that.
"It was just a tag he was given. Of course he is a hard act to follow – he is one of the all-time greats. But it would be wrong to try and copy him. I have to do it my own way.
"The respect Johnno commanded from his peers was massive and his physical toughness on the pitch and refusal to take a backwards step marked him down as a great player.
"I don’t think the captaincy changed his game in any way, shape or form. And I don’t plan for it to change mine.
"I’ll let it happen naturally, just go with whatever fells natural to me at the time."