Michael Lynagh backs Paul O'Connell for Lions captaincy

Last Updated: 25/04/13 3:58pm

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Paul O'Connell: Captained the Lions in 2009

Paul O'Connell: Captained the Lions in 2009

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Former Australia international Michael Lynagh believes Paul O'Connell is the best man to lead the British and Irish Lions this summer.

Sam Warburton is the favourite to be handed the armband by Lions coach Warren Gatland, who is also the flanker's national coach with Wales.

But Lynagh, who played for the Wallabies in their 2-1 series defeat to Finlay Calder's 1989 Lions, believes Irishman O'Connell - the 2009 Lions skipper for the tour of South Africa - should be picked when the squad is announced on Tuesday.

"I guess the favourite is Warburton, but for me it has to be Paul O'Connell," said Lynagh.

"He's done it before, he's a big guy, an inspirational bloke, fresh because he hasn't played much this season and is as fit as he's ever been.

Balance

"From a political point of view you have Scottish, Welsh and English represented in the management and no Irish. Appointing O'Connell would balance things up."

Lynagh subscribes to the view that for the first time a 'tour captain', who would not be guaranteed his place in the Test XV, should be chosen.

"I'd go down that route because it takes the pressure off who's going to be a certainty in the team," added the Sky Sports pundit.

"If he's not playing well, do you drop the captain? If you pick a tour captain then he has to perform during the opening three weeks of the tour to get in the Test team. That would be interesting."

The pinnacle of British and Irish rugby, the Lions tour, returns and heads to Australia. Sky Sports will broadcast the entire tour live with all three Tests against the Wallabies plus all seven tour matches. For the first time, the inaugural tour match will take place in Hong Kong. The British & Irish Lions tour will be the fifth consecutive tour shown exclusively live on Sky.

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