Sam Warburton to lead British and Irish Lions for New Zealand tour


Former Wales captain Sam Warburton has been named as the captain of the British and Irish Lions for the upcoming tour of New Zealand in June.

The 28-year-old joins 2003 World Cup winning former England captain Martin Johnson as they only players to have captained Lions on two separate tours after his successful outing in the 2013 tour of Australia where the visitors won 2-1.

Warburton was recently replaced as skipper of Wales by Alun Wyn Jones but that did not seem to have affected the trust head coach Warren Gatland has on him when Lions face a 10-game gruelling schedule in New Zealand.

The 6ft 2in flanker is currently recovering from a knee ligament strain that he sustained while playing for his club Cardiff Blues but is expected to return to action before the Lions depart to New Zealand on 29th May.

"Sam is a great player, an outstanding leader and a winning Lions captain," said Gatland.

"We believe that Sam's experience and leadership qualities make him an obvious choice as captain.

"He has earned the respect of his peers and coaches through his resilience, tenacity and hard work."

Warburton added: "Being in the same room as so many Lions legends was an amazing experience.

"I feel humbled and extremely proud to be given the opportunity to captain the Lions for a second tour, and look forward to playing the world champions on their own turf with the best players of the UK and Ireland at my side."

The 41-man squad rightly has been dominated by England players, who registered 18 consecutive wins under head coach Eddie Jones including back-to-back Six Nations triumph while 12 feature from Wales, 11 from Ireland and Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour from Scotland.

England skipper Dylan Hartley failed to find a place in the squad and now joins Chris Robshaw and Steve Borthwick as the third captain of the red rose team to miss out on the Lions selection.

British and Irish Lions squad for New Zealand tour:


Rory Best (Ireland), Dan Cole (England), Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Jamie George (England), Iain Henderson (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), George Kruis (England), Courtney Lawes (England), Joe Marler (England), Jack McGrath (Ireland), Ross Moriarty (Wales), Sean O'Brien (Ireland), Peter O'Mahony (Ireland), Ken Owens (Wales), Kyle Sinckler (England), CJ Stander (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Billy Vunipola (England), Mako Vunipola (England), Sam Warburton (Wales)


Dan Biggar (Wales), Elliot Daly (England), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Owen Farrell (England), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Jonathan Joseph (England), Conor Murray (Ireland), George North (Wales), Jack Nowell (England), Jared Payne (Ireland), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), Tommy Seymour (Scotland), Ben Te'o (England), Anthony Watson (England), Rhys Webb (Wales), Liam Williams (Wales), Ben Youngs (England)