Rugby Union

Exclusive: Paul O’Connell should have been Lions captain, says Wood

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Football News

Ireland legend Keith Wood believes veteran second-row forward Paul O’Connell should have been handed the captaincy for this summer’s British & Irish Lions tour of Australia.

Wales flanker Sam Warburton was given the honour by coach Warren Gatland, with the 24-year-old getting the nod ahead of Brian O’Driscoll.

But, in the eyes of Wood, it should have been Munster veteran O’Connell who wore the proverbial armband Down Under.

“I wasn't surprised that Brian (O’Driscoll) didn't get the captaincy, and actually I thought it would have been Paul O'Connell if I'm brutally honest,” the 41-year-old told GiveMeSport in an exclusive interview.

“But, it’s Warburton who has been given the responsibility and I think he will do a great job.”

Wood also gave his thoughts on the Lions squad as a whole, admitting that he felt there could have been a few more ‘sparklers’ included to provide some excitement.

However, he has faith in the 37-man squad to stick to the task in Oz, and is looking forward to seeing how they come together on the field in the first test match in Brisbane next month.

“I think there could have been a little bit more excitement in the squad if I am honest with a couple of other sparklers,” he added.

“But we have to have faith in the squad selected. We can have no idea how the players are shaping up together in training, and we won't know for a little while yet. I can’t wait to see it though.”

The Lions start their tour with a match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong, before reaching Australia for their first tour match against Western Force.

The first test match takes place at the Suncorp Stadium on June 22nd.

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