Sam Warburton has revealed how Peter O’Mahony reacted as he replaced the Irishman as Lions captain for the second Test against the All Blacks in Wellington.
“I am delighted to be selected. It’s probably the most nervous I have been going into a team selection,” said Warburton.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen, I thought some guys played absolutely brilliantly on Tuesday against the Hurricanes and could have come straight into the Test team.
“It happened last week, so I was very nervous about the selection and which direction they would go, but I am absolutely delighted I am starting.
“I was chatting to my parents and my wife and they were saying ‘what do you think is going to happen?’.
“I tried not to think about it – things happen for a reason, if I deserve it I get picked, if I don’t I won’t.
Ireland flanker O’Mahony reacted to being replaced as both flanker and skipper, in the best way revealed Warburton: “Peter came up to me, shook my hand and congratulated me – but everybody does that.
“When we have selection meetings, they’ll name the team, not much is said afterwards but everyone makes the effort to go up and congratulate each other.
“It’s a really nice environment to be in. For me that hasn’t really happened with your club or with your country, but for me everyone here is so supportive of each other, which is a really nice thing.
“I can honestly say there’s been no divide between guys playing on a Tuesday and guys playing on Saturday. This has been the best tour I’ve been on for guys getting on really well. The culture we’ve generated in a short space of time has been quite special.
“It’s team first. There’s no egos, no selfishness at all. And that comes from the players that haven’t been selected, they drive that culture. They’ve been brilliant.”