The Rugby Debate: It really does not matter who the Lions captain is

Giles Mole
The Telegraph
Sam Warburton is the favourite to be Lions captain - Christopher Pledger
Sam Warburton is the favourite to be Lions captain - Christopher Pledger

As we build-up to the Lions squad announcement on April 19, there will be a lot of debate around the captaincy. There always is. There already has been.

Which brave and noble warrior will be deemed worthy enough to be adorned with the mystical armband of leadership?

Will it be Sam Warburton? Alun Wyn Jones? Rory Best? Dylan Hartley? Owen Farrell? Conor Murray? The list goes on. And, quite frankly, it does not matter.

This Lions squad will be full of leaders, full of men who have experienced captaincy, who have led their team into battle. Really, the only reason to elevate one from the rest is to have a patsy who can be dressed up head to toe in sponsored garb, sent out to smile in front of the cameras and say all the right things in front of the media.

There are those that say the captain must be a guaranteed starter. Why? The Lions captaincy is nothing more than a ceremonial role. Out on the field of play as a Lion, the only difference between the skipper and the other 14 men he stands alongside is that he gets to – politely – question the referee for a bit longer. Because he's the captain.

Otherwise, he is just one leader amongst a field of leaders.

A rugby captain is not like, say, a cricket captain. Joe Root calls all the shots for England in cricket – he dictates play on the field, makes the big calls, decides who does what, where and when.

In rugby, as in football, it is different. Yes a captain can lead by example, but this is the Lions – every player should lead by example. Once the whistle goes, a rugby captain is, well, just any other player.

You could throw the names of Warburton, Wyn Jones, Farrell, Best and more into a hat, pull one out and that person would do a fine job as captain, because each of them is a fine, respected player.

But which one looks best in a suit?

Do you agree? Have your say in the comments section below

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