Martin Johnson backs Alun Wyn Jones to captain Lions in Australia
Last Updated: 20/03/13 1:24pm
Alun Wyn Jones: Top candidate, says Martin Johnson
Former England captain Martin Johnson says Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones should skipper the Lions in Australia this summer.
Johnson, the only man to lead the Lions twice and England's World Cup-winning captain in 2003, believes the Ospreys star has all the right qualities for the job and sees similarities between himself and the 27-year-old.
Johnson was not England captain when he was appointed Lions skipper in 1997. And Jones is not the Wales captain - with Sam Warburton, Ryan Jones and Gethin Jenkins all wearing the armband in the Six Nations.
But Johnson puts Jones - who played in all three Tests in South Africa in 2009 - ahead of his three Welsh team-mates and other leading candidates for the job, including Brian O'Driscoll and Chris Robshaw.
"He's played a lot of games, he's done it, he has been out there before with the Lions in '09, so I think he's in the frame," Johnson said.
"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."
"I hear a lot of good things about him. I was in a pretty similar situation in 1997 (to Jones)," Johnson said. "Phil de Glanville was England captain and I'd only captained my club about 15 times.
"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.
"Sam Warburton wasn't even in the Welsh team for a while (after being injured early in the Six Nations) but he handled himself pretty well in a tricky situation and came back and played well."
Johnson - who as England manager gave Robshaw his international debut - has been hugely impressed by the Harlequins man, even if he thinks Jones should be named captain.
"Chris has played fantastically well for England, doing a very difficult job," said Johnson. "When I was England manager, we picked him as a six and he went to Argentina in 2009.
"But I remember saying to his club coaches at the time, 'if Chris is going to play Test rugby it is probably going to have to be at seven', because England were playing sixes like Tom Croft, and then Tom Wood.
"Chris brought different skills - he is a real hard worker, a real grafter, and his skills go more into playing seven. I think he has done a fantastic job."