Last Five British & Irish Lions Captains

Last Five British & Irish Lions Captains

On 6 May, Warren Gatland will name his British & Irish Lions squad for the 2021 Tour of South Africa.

After the squad announcement, Gatland is also expected to reveal the 2021 Tour captain.

Following the list of key names of potential 2021 Lions leaders who have been thrown around in recent months, we take a look at the past five captains to have had the honour of leading the British and Irish Lions.

2017/2013 Sam Warburton v New Zealand & Australia

British & Irish Lions | 2017 Lions Player Retrospective: Sam Warburton

The 2017 Tour to New Zealand saw Sam Warburton become only the second man to captain The British & Irish Lions twice, having been the leader of the side when he became the youngest ever Lions captain at the age of 24 in 2013.

Young Warburton sadly picked up a hamstring injury in the second test and was ruled out of the final, with Alun Wyn Jones captaining the team to a 41–16 win.

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2017's Lions captain announcement saw the former Wales skipper become only the second player, after England's Martin Johnson, to captain the Lions in two tours. He is also the only Lions captain in history to have avoided defeat on two Tours.

2017 Peter O’Mahony v New Zealand

Peter O'Mahony Providing The Aggressive Edge The Lions Need Against New  Zealand

O’Mahony captained the Lions in their 30–15 first test defeat Test defeat against New Zealand in the 2017 tour, deputising for the injured Sam Warburton at Eden Park.

He became the first Munster player since Paul O'Connell in 2013 to captain a Lions team.

O'Mahony was controversially dropped from the squad altogether for the second and third tests.

2013 Alun Wyn Jones v Australia

Alun Wyn Jones looks set to be named Lions captain

The most talked-about player to take the captain's armband this year, Alun Wyn Jones captained the Lions in place of the injured Sam Warburton in the decisive third 2013 Test vs Australia to seal a first series win in 16 years.

Jones has captained Wales on a full-time basis since the retirement of Sam Warburton in July 2018, with Wales winning two of the three Six Nations since Jones took over the captaincy.

The 35-year-old is regarded as one of the country's most influential players in history as he has made 157 appearances for Wales and the Lions.

Jones has also played in the last nine straight Lions tour Tests, dating back to 2009 when the Lions were back in South Africa.


2009 Paul O’Connell v South Africa

Paul O'Connell On Who He Believes Should Captain The Lions In 2021

In April 2009, O'Connell was named as the British & Irish Lions captain for the 2009 tour to South Africa, becoming the first Irish forward to lead the Lions against the Springboks since the great Willie John McBride in 1974.

He started the first test defeat alongside Alun Wyn Jones on 20 June 2009.

O’Connell was an integral part of three Lions Tours (2005, 2009 & 2013).

2005 Brian O’Driscoll v New Zealand

British and Irish Lions: Brian O'Driscoll loving being a tourist again  ahead of first Test | Rugby Union News | Sky Sports

O’Driscoll announced himself onto the world stage at the age of 22 in the 2001 Tour of Australia with a world-class try in the first Test victory.

He went on to captain the Lions in the 2005 Tour but his Test series was ended prematurely by injury.

O'Driscoll was also selected as part of the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa, with 2013 becoming his fourth British & Irish Lions tour.

He is one of only three players to have gone on four British & Irish Lions Tours.

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