Sam Warburton will be re-appointed British and Irish Lions captain for the tour of New Zealand, according to former Lions skipper Brian O’Driscoll.
The Wales flanker, 28, led the Lions in Australia in 2013 and is the favourite to resume the role this summer.
“Everything points to Sam Warburton,” O’Driscoll told BBC Radio 5 live’s Rugby Union Weekly Podcast.
“[Lions head coach Warren] Gatland is a big fan, he knows what sort of captain he is. He’s going to be the man.”
O’Driscoll, who toured with the Lions four times, added: “The experience of doing it once before, and how he is currently playing and the high esteem he is held in, I think they all feature heavily in him being another good selection.
“Seven [openside flanker] is one of the more open positions, and I think Warburton will fit in brilliantly there.”
O’Driscoll feels Warburton is now best-placed to lead the touring party ahead of Wales captain in Alun Wyn Jones, who is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury.
“Sam is the kind of character that if he wasn’t selected for the Tests he wouldn’t throw the toys out of the cot,” O’Driscoll said.
“You look at that, married with Alun Wyn being out for a couple of weeks now, I don’t know if you can guarantee him a Test spot.
“I would have him in my Test team, but I don’t know if Gats feels he can guarantee him a Test spot.”
|Lions in NZ (3 Jun-8 Jul)|
|v New Zealand Provincial Barbarians||Saturday, 3 June||Toll Stadium, Whangarai|
|v Blues||Wednesday, 7 June||Eden Park, Auckland|
|v Crusaders||Saturday, 10 June||AMI Stadium, Christchurch|
|v Highlanders||Tuesday, 13 June||Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin|
|v Maori All Blacks||Saturday, 17 June||Rotorua International Stadium|
|v Chiefs||Tuesday, 20 June||FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton|
|v All Blacks||Saturday, 24 June||Eden Park, Auckland|
|v Hurricanes||Tuesday, 27 June||Westpac Stadium, Wellington|
|v All Blacks||Saturday, 1 July||Westpac Stadium, Wellington|
|v All Blacks||Saturday, 8 July||Eden Park, Auckland|
“No-one has mentioned [Munster second row] Donnacha Ryan as a possible bolter,” he said. “He could do a brilliant job for the Lions as a midweek player.
“I wouldn’t be shocked to find him on the tour. He is the kind of guy you want in the trenches.”
O’Driscoll also believes Leinster flanker Sean O’Brien is in the frame.
“He was the seven four years ago when [the Lions] smashed Australia, and Warren Gatland will remember that and knows what he can deliver.
“He has given himself every opportunity.”
Gatland will confirm his squad on 19 April with the first game of the tour on 3 June.