Johnson: Jones could be captain

Lions legend Martin Johnson says Alun Wyn Jones could be the right man to lead the Lions in Hong Kong and Australia this summer. [more]

Johnson: Jones could be captain

Lions legend Martin Johnson says Alun Wyn Jones could be the right man to lead the Lions in Hong Kong and Australia this summer.

England’s World Cup winning skipper believes his fellow second row has all the attributes needed to guide Britain and Ireland’s elite to series success against the Wallabies in June and July, 12 years after Johnson just missed out on the Holy Grail Down Under.

That heartbreaking 2001 series defeat in Oz saw Johnson become the first man to lead two Lions tours and he can see similarities between the position he found himself in on the 1997 adventure in South Africa and the position that Jones may well be in this time around.

"I was in a pretty similar situation in 1997," Johnson told BBC Sport.

"Phil de Glanville was England captain and I'd only captained my club about 15 times.

Google Ad Manager – In Article

"I hear a lot of good things about him. He's played a lot of games, he's done it, he’s been out there before with the Lions in '09, so I think he's in the frame."

Jones played in all three Tests against the Springboks four years ago, starting the first in Durban and then featuring as a replacement in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

He is currently captain of the Ospreys and has 70 Welsh caps to his name and his performance in the win over England at the weekend prompted pundits across all four nations to promote his push for a starting spot in the latest Lions Test team.

His ex-international and club colleague Shane Williams described him as "a dead cert to be going, a dead cert starter in the first Test" and the 27-year-old is now being seen as a realistic option to take the mantle from 2009 skipper Paul O’Connell.

The race for the most treasured armband of them all appears wide open, with England’s Chris Robshaw, Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll, O’Connell and Rory Best and Jones’ Welsh colleagues Sam Warburton, Ryan Jones and Gethin Jenkins all being tipped as captaincy contenders.

But despite the debate gathering steam as the April 30 selection date grows ever nearer, Johnson insists that we shouldn’t make too much of who gets given the ultimate honour.

"Everyone overplays the captaincy thing – whoever gets the job will need the support of the other guys," added Johnson, who was also quick to point out that Gatland must pick the best players available regardless of nationality.

"The Lions captaincy has this big aura about it and is a great thing to do, to do well. But ultimately I would rather just play, and win a series, than be captain in a losing series, every day of the week.

"There is a lot of rubbish spoken about nationalities. You want guys who all want to win.

"When I played with the Lions, I wanted to play with the best players, I didn't care where they were from."

Previous story Lydiate return is imminent
Next story It’s Lions time
Download