Gatland talks captaincy

Lions boss Warren Gatland isn't simply looking for a coach's mouthpiece when it comes to picking a captain for the summer tour of Hong Kong and Australia. [more]

Gatland talks captaincy

Lions boss Warren Gatland isn’t simply looking for a coach’s mouthpiece when it comes to picking a captain for the summer tour of Hong Kong and Australia.

The debate as to who will be handed the ultimate honour Down Under continues to rage across all four Home Unions and Gatland insists he hasn’t yet made up his mind who will lead the Lions on their 125th anniversary adventure.

But one thing the man charged with securing a first series success since 1997 is certain of is that he won’t be giving the armband to someone content to just be a ‘yes, yes’ kind of captain when the chips are down against the Wallabies.  

“The last thing I want is someone who does as he is told,” Gatland told the Daily Telegraph.

“I want a captain who has got his own strong values, one who is happy not just to stand up to me but also to the players if needs be, a bloke who will not fold under pressure.”

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Gatland will be picking his final Lions squad on April 30 and he plans to name his tour captain on the same day.

And while he would clearly wish to name a skipper who is likely to feature in all three Tests against Australia in June and July, he admits that being chosen as tour captain isn’t a guarantee of a place in the first XV in Brisbane in just under 13 weeks’ time.

“There is no room for sentiment in what is a results business and when we come to naming the starting XV against Australia the captain won’t be the first guy on the team sheet,” added Gatland.

“You can’t get too hung up on these things. Ideally, you would want your tour captain to be there but he’s got to warrant his place and be able to do the job.

“Whoever we do select as captain then they need to know and be under no illusions that their form needs to be good enough on tour. We’ll have to make a call at the time and if others are playing better, they will be in.

“Everyone has their opinion but we have to make the right decision. We won't be rushed into it, we will take our time.

“Whoever we select, I’m sure they will do a great job. We’ll pick the squad first and then decide after that.”

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