Ireland international Conor Murray has backed his skipper Rory Best to lead the British and Irish Lions in the upcoming tour of New Zealand in June.
Best was added to the 2013 British and Irish Lions squad for the tour of Australia as a late replacement for Dylan Hartley, who was removed from the squad after receiving a red card for abusing a referee in the Aviva Premiership final.
Overall, Best was racked up over 100 appearances for Ireland and Murray believes the 34-year-old has all the attributes to lead Lions against back to back World Champions at their own backyard.
“Being Irish, I have to say I think Rory Best has shown the ability to Captain this year’s Lions squad.
"I would obviously back my Captain, but I feel Rory would be a super leader as he possesses all the skills you need - leadership, experience, and an ability to bring players together, build momentum … while keeping your feet on the ground!”
Murray also believes Wales' Alun Wyn Jones, Ireland playmaker Johnny Sexton and Scotland's Stuart Hogg should be an automatic choice for the Lions selection.
"This year’s tour to New Zealand will be tough, but it’s something every player wants to test themselves against.
"I think the three players, in my opinion, who have made the biggest claim to deserving a seat on the plane are Alun Wyn Jones, Johnny Sexton and Stuart Hogg … but there is still a lot of rugby to be played."
The Munster scrum-half also picked the standout players from the recently concluded Six Nations tournament which was won by England.
“I think the outstanding players have got to be CJ Stander and Tadgh Furlong.
"CJ also stands out to me as one of the home nation’s best performers alongside Stuart Hogg and my opposite number Rhys Webb, who is always a tough opponent!”
Murray himself was part of the 2013 Lions tour where he came off the bench in the second and third Test and he is hoping for an opportunity to represent the red jersey once again.
“I’ve never felt nerves like it waiting to hear and when I saw my picture come up on the screen, it was incredible – it’s a great way to announce the squad.
"Making my debut in that red jersey was absolutely amazing, just physically putting it on and getting to play in it, knowing that you’re now a Lion, it’s something really special”
Conor Murray 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.