Jones: Irish leaders can help Warburton

Wales and Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones believes the presence of experienced Irish duo, Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell, in the Lions squad will help Sam Warburton deal with the pressure of captaining the Tour.

Both O’Driscoll and O’Connell were among those tipped to skipper the squad, but in the end head coach Warren Gatland opted for the Welsh back rower. Gatland revealed that Warburton’s respectful demeanour when dealing with referees played a part in his selection.

At 24, Warburton is the youngest player to captain the Lions in over fifty years and the second youngest Welshman to secure the honour, behind Gareth Edwards.

It places extra pressure on the flanker’s shoulders, but Wyn-Jones thinks previous Lions captains, O’Driscoll and O’Connell, can alleviate some of the pressure by using their experience and leadership.

"Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell have got a huge wealth of experience, and not every player will play every game." Jones told BBC Sport.

"It's going to be tough to ask any player to do that and Sam's just the same.

"I don't think he'd expect to play every game, plus you need that extra ability to use the best out of people around you.

"And I think Sam will be able to do that by employing the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell and the experience they've had and the experience of previous Lions tours.

"Knowing Paul O'Connell and guys like that and the professionalism they display when they are captain, they'll just display it by being led by another man.”

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