Rugby

Lions' tour, Test captain may differ

2016-11-02 15:01
Warren Gatland (Getty)

Cape Town - British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has suggested the Lions captaincy could change for the Tests due to form.

Highlighting the need for a Lions captain to be in top form come the start of the Tests with the All Blacks, which begin on June 24 next year, Gatland admitted that there was a chance that the tour captain, named before the side depart for New Zealand, could miss out if other players in his position performed better in the earlier matches.

Wales captain Sam Warburton is widely considered as the front-runner for the role, having led the tourists in 2013, while England skipper Dylan Hartley and Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones have also been mentioned.

"He's had the experience of doing that in the past. But look, there's a lot of other players," Gatland told BBC Sport.

"I think the big thing for me about picking a captain, when you look at a Test XV, you want to think your captain's got a good chance of starting.

"And there'll be no guarantees. You might pick a tour captain, and then the form of someone else on tour is better.

"Then you end up picking a Test captain for the Test matches."

Gatland added that performances in the 2017 Six Nations would also play a major factor in his thinking.

"If a nation is going is well, then a lot of the players will come from a winning Six Nations team and potentially a captain that's done well in the Six Nations could have an advantage," he explained.

“There's a lot of things to happen between now and April 17 and naming the captain. I wouldn't rule anyone out for that possibility. It's going to be a tough decision."

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