Former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll has named his preferred XV for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand that begins in June.
The squad contains as many as five players from England, who recently clinched the Six Nations 2017 tournament. Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola, Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje have all received the backing of O’Driscoll, who also backed Jamie George over Dylan Hartley.
Also four players from Wales have made it to the 38-year-old's XV with Sam Warburton leading the side that has Alun Wyn Jones, George North and Liam Williams as well.
Tadhg Furlong, CJ Stander, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray and Robbie Henshaw form the Ireland contingents with Player of the Six Nations tournament Stuart Hogg being the lone member from Scotland.
“I believe there have been a few players throwing their hat in the ring for Captaincy on the Lions tour. The frequently asked question is, ‘What do you want from a tour captain and a team captain?’, and I would say that ideally I want them to be one and the same.
"In a perfect world your Tour Captain is the first name down on your Test sheet. However if that's not the case you need a leader that would have the ability to accept the disappointment of not being selected while still performing his role and getting the best out of the squad.
“Sam Warburton has become the bookies favourite (and rightly so in my opinion) for the title after some impressive performances over the past couple of months. With some question marks over his future in the Wales team, he answered his critics in emphatic style with a big tournament, in his less favoured position of blindside flanker.”
1. Mako Vunipola - Eng
2. Jamie George - Eng
3. Tadhg Furlong - Ire
4. Alun Wyn Jones - Wal
5. Maro Itoje - Eng
6. CJ Stander - Ire
7. Sam Warburton - Wal
8. Billy Vunipola – Eng
9. Conor Murray - Ire
10. Johnny Sexton - Ire
11. George North - Wal
12. Owen Farrell - Eng
13. Robbie Henshaw - Ire
14. Liam Williams - Wal
15. Stuart Hogg - Scot
Brian O’Driscoll is speaking on behalf of Thomas Pink – Official Outfitter of the British & Irish Lions. Register at www.pinklionrugbyclub.co.uk for exclusive Thomas Pink Lions events.