The race to captain the Lions has taken another twist, after Wales Online reported that Sam Warburton is contemplating stepping down as captain of Wales, and may also rule himself out of the running to lead the Lions next summer.
The news comes as a shock to most observers, as Warburton was considered to be the front runner for captaincy of the Lions alongside Rory Best.
Indeed, after Dylan Hartley was sent off for striking Sean O’Brien in the European Rugby Champions Cup during early December, Warburton was installed as the 7/5 favourite to captain the Lions in New Zealand.
However news of Warburton possibly stepping down as Wales captain means that Best is now the leading candidate to lead the touring side.
Although the news has yet to be confirmed, Wales Online believe the 28 year-old Wales flanker wants to focus on his own game without the responsibilities of the captaincy.
If Warburton does stand aside, he will be a very difficult act to follow having led Wales to a World Cup semi final in 2011 and back-to-back Six Nations Championships in 2012 and 2013.
Indeed, Warburton has skippered his country on a record 49 occasions and has arguably been Wales’ most successful captain of the modern era.
However Wales are not short of leaders on the field, and Alun Wyn Jones would be an ideal replacement if the position does become available.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
On this week’s Oval Office Podcast we look at Leicester Tigers’ options and discuss Johnny Sexton’s potential Lions tour.