Lions legend Scott Gibbs has paid fellow countryman Ryan Jones the ultimate compliment by comparing him to former Lions skipper and new England supremo Martin Johnson.
Gibbs, himself a three-times tourist and an integral part of the 1997 success against the Springboks, believes the Ospreys back row shares many of the World Cup winner’s characteristics and has what it takes to lead the Lions next summer.
"Ryan has very similar hallmarks to Martin Johnson in that he never takes a backward step," Gibbs told The Sun.
"You have to have that quality as a captain and he has the resilience and attitude to lead the Lions as well as Johno did."
Gibbs, who will take part in this Saturday’s Help for Heroes charity match at Twickenham, would love to see Jones become the first Welshman since Phil Bennett in 1977 to skipper the tourists.
The former Swansea centre believes such a recognition would be a huge boost for Welsh rugby, although he recognizes that Jones’ first priority must be to secure his place in Ian McGeechan’s touring party.
"I’d love to see him have the captaincy from a Wales perspective and I think he is a good leader as showed when Wales won the Grand Slam.
"But obviously he needs to be in form to deserve his place in the side first.
"I know it will not be anything like the last tour and players will be picked on form."
As well as being sure that Jones would be a sensible choice as skipper, Gibbs is confident that the Lions already have the perfect coaching set up in place to succeed in South Africa.
"The most important selections have already been made with the management and coaching set-up with Gerald Davies and Ian McGeehan in charge," added Gibbs.
"They will also crystallize the value of the Lions, the comradeship and establish the core values for the Lions ready to attack on South African soil."