Sir Ian McGeechan has chosen the man he believes should lead the British & Irish Lions in South Africa in 2021.
The 73-year-old opted for England lock Maro Itoje as his tour captain, ahead of England skipper Owen Farrell and Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones.
Describing Itoje as a player he “would love to have coached”, McGeechan feels that the competition in the second-row could count against Jones’ captaincy bid.
“To be honest I think there are probably only three genuine contenders as it stands: Owen Farrell, Alun Wyn Jones and Maro Itoje,” wrote the legend in his column for the Telegraph.
“Of that trio – and again with the proviso that form and fitness will count for a lot – I would go with Itoje,
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“Jones is not certain of his starting spot,
“He will be 35 by next summer and the competition at lock is ferocious,
“James Ryan has really pushed on and I would start with him and Itoje together at lock if the first test was tomorrow.”
LIST | Sir Ian McGeechan’s 10 best young players in the world
Former British and Irish Lions had coach and Telegraph Sport columnist Sir Ian McGeechan selects the 10 young players set to take the world by storm.
1. Marcus Smith, 21, England
“I have watched a lot of him. He never looks flustered on the ball, which is the hallmark of a great player and he has been in and around the England squad without yet being capped.”
2. Jordan Joseph, 19, France
“A powerful runner with good hands and a skilful offload game.”
3. Caelan Doris, 22, Ireland
“Another one off the Leinster independent schools production line (Blackrock College) and one of the standout No 8s in this season’s Champions Cup.”