Leaders of the Pride

The player honoured by head coach Warren Gatland with the captaincy of the 2013 British & Irish Lions on their tour of Australia will not be announced until well into the New Year. [more]

Leaders of the Pride

The player honoured by head coach Warren Gatland with the captaincy of the 2013 British & Irish Lions on their tour of Australia will not be announced until well into the New Year.

But if you were a betting man you wouldn’t be looking at Wales for the lead man because no Welshman has led a Lions tour party since Phil Bennett was named as captain in New Zealand 35 years ago.

For the eight tours since then either an Irish or English player has been in charge three times and a Scotsman twice.

Ireland has supplied the appointed captains for the last two Lions tours – and they are out on their own in providing the most skippers for the iconic combined team.

Centre Brian O’Driscoll, albeit briefly, led the party to New Zealand in 2005 and lock Paul O’Connell was at the playing helm in South Africa in 2009.

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O’Connell was the 10th Irish player from 28 tours to captain the Lions and there were with four successive tour leaders between 1938 and 1959 – Sam Walker, Karl Mullen, Robin Thompson and Ronnie Dawson – who were all Irish players.

England have provided the captain for eight tours, with Martin Johnson being the only man to lead the Lions on two tours, while the Scots have had the head man on seven tours.

It all leaves Wales trailing far behind the rest with just three captains in Bennett, John Dawes (1971) and Arthur “Boxer” Harding back in 1908. What price a Welshman in 2013?

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS TOUR CAPTAINS

2009 Paul O'Connell (Ireland)
2005 Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)
2001 Martin Johnson (England)
1997 Martin Johnson (England)
1993 Gavin Hastings (Scotland)
1989 Finlay Calder (Scotland)
1983 Ciaran Fitzgerald (Ireland)
1980 Bill Beaumont (England)
1977 Phil Bennett (Wales)
1974 Willie John McBride (Ireland)
1971 John Dawes (Wales)
1968 Tom Kiernan (Ireland)
1966 Mike Campbell-Lamerton (Scotland)
1962 Arthur Smith (Scotland)
1959 Ronnie Dawson (Ireland)
1955 Robin Thompson (Ireland)
1950 Karl Mullen (Ireland)
1938 Sam Walker (Ireland)
1930 Doug Prentice (England)
1924 Ronald Cove-Smith (England)
1910 Tommy Smyth (Ireland)
1908 Boxer Harding (Wales)
1904 David Bedell-Sivright (Scotland)
1903 Mark Morrison (Scotland)
1899 Matthew Mullineux (England)
1896 Johnny Hammond (England)
1891 Bill Maclagen (Scotland)
1888 Robert Seddon (England)

(The above list does not include the three tours to Argentina in 1910, 1927 and 1936 when no Test caps were awarded).
 

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