Graham Rowntree expects Paul O'Connell to help Sam Warburton on Lions tour

Last Updated: 22/05/13 9:28am

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Paul O'Connell is caught by Ian Evans during training

Paul O'Connell is caught by Ian Evans during training

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British and Irish Lions forwards coach Graham Rowntree believes the presence of Paul O'Connell on the tour to Australia will be of great benefit to skipper Sam Warburton.

Wales openside flanker Warburton is the youngest player to captain the Lions for 58 years at the age of 24 after succeeding O'Connell in the position.

And Rowntree believes that in Ireland and Munster lock O'Connell, Warburton has a team-mate of the highest calibre.

"Paul is a class player. I've played with him and coached him. He's what I would call a proven warrior at the highest end of the game," said Rowntree.

"A Lions series is the highest end of the game. He's been out for a while with injury but his recent performances put him right in the reckoning for selection.

"He's playing well, is a big man, has experience and is very good at giving to other players. He's spoken highly of Sam and will help him."

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