Owen will still lead by example

Michael Owen has vowed to play a senior leadership role for the British & Irish Lions in the clash with Taranaki despite being replaced as captain by Martin Corry. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Michael Owen has vowed to play a senior leadership role for the British & Irish Lions in the clash with Taranaki despite being replaced as captain by Martin Corry.

Owen led the Lions out against Argentina in Cardiff but the management have decided to rotate the midweek captaincy among a number of players.

The idea is not only to give them all a taste of the rare honour but also to furnish the squad with leadership experience.

Owen understands the policy and will give Corry, the England captain, all the support he can in New Plymouth as the Lions look to build on the win over Bay of Plenty.

"It’s been explained to me and I’m fine with it. It would have been nice to do it again but it’s no problem. I just want to play well now," he said.

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"The position of captain doesn’t make a great deal of difference. If you try and play well as captain then hopefully people will follow you.

"Martin will not change what he does, he will just carry on and play really well.

"The way the game is going now, everyone has their opinions and is putting them forward.

"We are all just trying to help each other. Everyone has an input anyway so it is not just about being captain."

Owen believes the Lions are beginning to grow into something approaching a formidable unit.

"There is a noticeable difference in how we are approaching training. It is really coming together," he added.

"It’s a matter of us being really sure of what we are trying to do and then you will see the quality of the players coming out.

"We are still finding our feet a bit. Everyone has got different ideas and the players are contributing to that. It is a great experience for the team. Game by game we will get better and better and we will show that on Wednesday."

Owen also paid tribute to injured forward Lawrence Dallaglio.

"I feel for Lawrence, I don’t really know him but just being around him for a short period of time you can see what a fantastic player he is," he said.

"He is a massive loss and it is a shame he is out of the tour."

Owen is also briefly heading home to be at his wife’s side for the birth of their second child on June 13.

Corry, meanwhile, has been given some hard work in the early weeks of the tour.

He started in Cardiff, played 60 tough minutes as Dallaglio’s replacement against Bay of Plenty but will back up just four days later to lead the Lions against a physical Taranaki outfit.

Corry will be assisted by vice-captain Will Greenwood, who makes his first appearance of the campaign along with his fellow England colleagues Charlie Hodgson, the fly-half, and hooker Andy Titterrell.

Scottish scrum-half Chris Cusiter gets his first chance to challenge Dwayne Peel while the Lions’ bench features Wilkinson and four players who started against the Bay of Plenty.

Martyn Williams, who came through his first game in six weeks in impressive fashion, is amongst the replacements along with Ben Kay, Gethin Jenkins and Gavin Henson.

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