Warren Gatland: Up to eight players in contention for Lions captaincy

Wales and Lions head coach speaks to Dave McIntyre

BY Raf Diallo 21:00 Wednesday 1 February 2017, 21:00 1 Feb 2017

Head Coach Warren Gatland ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Wales head coach Warren Gatland says he has just over half a dozen players in the frame for the British and Irish Lions captaincy.

With this summer's tour approaching, the 2013 and 2017 Lions head coach was coy about the identity of those candidates for the captaincy as he spoke to Off The Ball's Dave McIntyre.

"There are seven to eight players, half a dozen players, in contention probably at the moment for the captaincy," he said, although Gatland was coy about the identity of those players.

"Maybe a captain of one of the national teams. Sam Warburton did a great job in 2013 and relied on a lot of other senior players around him for their leadership. And it could be someone who's not a captain at the moment as well who we feel could do a good job too, so we'll wait and see."

Among those thought to be in the frame are Ireland captain Rory Best and England counterpart Dylan Hartley despite recent on-field disciplinary controversy for the Northampton player.

Ahead of the Lions tour to New Zealand when he will resume head coach duties after success four years ago in Australia, Gatland said the biggest lesson he learnt from 2013 is helping to keep the squad in shape with matches coming thick and fast.

"The game is going to go up another level in terms of the physicality of the challenges of playing two games a week and the toll that takes on a squad of players, picking up too many injuries, managing players in terms of training load and rest and that. That's something that I'm very aware of and took from 2013 to make sure that if I was involved again in 2017, that was one of the things that I prepared for," he said.

This year's tour begins on June 3rd, with a trio of fixtures against the host nation New Zealand on June 24th, July 1st and July 8th. 




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