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Stuart Barnes Outlines Why He Thinks Rory Best Shouldn't Captain The Lions

Stuart Barnes Outlines Why He Thinks Rory Best Shouldn't Captain The Lions
By Gavan Casey Updated

Following Munster's Tyler Bleyendaal-inspired victory over Edinburgh, the Sky Sports panel engaged in a rather entertaining debate about Lions captaincy.

All four Lions-qualified nations were represented. Ieuan Evans of Wales was joined by Scott Hastings of Scotland, Stuart Barnes in the English corner, and Alan Quinlan providing the Irish perspective.

The prospective Lions captaincies of Alun Wyn Jones, Rory Best, Johnny Gray, Dylan Hartley and even Conor Murray were mooted and discussed at length. In the end, it was the new Welsh captain who seemed to get the unanimous nod despite understandable uncertainty ahead of a full Six Nations campaign.

Barnes, however, was more assertive than his piers in his declaring Rory Best unfit to captain Warren Gatland's touring side. A former Lions matchday captain himself, Barnes explained that Best's perceived wilting under pressure in Australia would lean him towards choosing Wyn Jones. He told the Sky Sports viewers:

Alun Wyn Jones, Alun Wyn Jones and then Alun Wyn Jones. No matter what happens to Wales.

I'll tell you why Rory Best isn't the captain... Because on his last Lions tour he wilted under pressure. He's a different player now, but I like a Lions captain who can really understand what it's like under pressure.

Alun Wyn Jones in that third Test [in 2013] was inspiring, he was intelligent, and he was an outstanding leader. All the mess that went on about Brian O'Driscoll, and all the fuss about O'Driscoll being dropped from the team, Alun Wyn Jones got that team, he made it into his.

While his logic about the supreme Wyn Jones is sound, it is worth pointing out that mere months ago Rory Best captained his country to victory over arguably the greatest rugby team of all time - the same team the Lions face in the summer. You might even suggest he was under a modicum of pressure while doing so.

Alan Quinlan meanwhile brought up Dylan Hartley's chances, despite the England captain's recent - and seemingly permanent - disciplinary issues. Quinlan, like Hartley, has missed out on a Lions tour for acting the berk. Barnes, to be fair, wasn't sold on the notion that Hartley would be a suitable candidate.

Intriguingly, Quinlan also raised the captaincy prospects of Conor Murray, suggesting he's the only guaranteed starter in Gatland's XV. You can watch the rather enjoyable debate-slash-discussion below.

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2017 Lions captain debate

SEE ALSO: Watch: Tyler Bleyendaal's Magic Hands Produce Decisive Score For Munster In Edinburgh

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