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Brian O'Driscoll Explains Why Peter O'Mahony Will Make A Great Lions Captain

Brian O'Driscoll Explains Why Peter O'Mahony Will Make A Great Lions Captain

Brian O'Driscoll believes that Warren Gatland made the right choice in selecting Peter O'Mahony to captain the Lions in the first Test against the All Blacks on Saturday.

Speaking to Dave McIntyre on Newstalk's Off The Ball on Thursday night, O'Driscoll highlighted some of the qualities which the Munster man will bring to the role.

Pete is totally deserving of the honour. He's a really wise head on relatively young shoulders. He's still only 27 but he has a wiseness to him.

At training, he has built a huge respect from his fellow teammates. They see his leadership in the way he plays, not necessarily the way he speaks but he does speak very well. It's about the way he plays and that aggressive confrontational game that he plays.

It's a big statement from the Lions, making him captain. It's, 'This is what we're coming at you with and see can you match us.'

I'm delighted for Pete. It's funny how fortunes change. Jamie Heaslip injuring himself before the England game and then Pete coming in having the game of his life and then doing really well in the quarter-final [vs Toulouse] in Europe. Now he finds himself captaining the Lions. Who would have thought that three months ago?

How the three Tests are officiated are likely to have a major bearing on the outcome of the series.

Part of Warren Gatland's reasoning for selecting O'Mahony, believes O'Driscoll, will have been how he conducts himself with referees.

I think there's definitely a component of that. The backrow or nine are usually the best places to captain from - you're at the coalface. Peter has a really nice manner with referees, he doesn't antagonise them, he doesn't lose his cool very often.

I think there's definitely a respect from referees the world over for how he carries himself. That definitely would have been a big factor too.

You do need to coerce referees particularly down in New Zealand where you will be hearing from the crowd and you want a strong referee as a result. You need someone who can appease them and I think Pete will do a great job in that regard.

A Gatland decision which O'Driscoll does not agree with is to name Sam Warburton on the bench - not because he's deserving of a starting place but rather due to the lack of impact which he provides as a replacement.

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Gatland made some bold calls. He's never been shy about making bold calls. It's brave and it was the right call. Warburton is not the best seven on tour at the moment.

It's interesting even seeing him on the bench. Is he a good bench player? Is he the sort of impact you're looking for? I'm not fully sure on that. For me, he's probably a starter or not in the 23 at all.

On Friday morning, Irish time, there was a special moment in the Lions camp as O'Driscoll, one of the 11 Irishmen to captain the Lions in a Test match, handed O'Mahony his jersey for the game at Eden Park.

You can listen to O'Driscoll speaking on last night's Off The Ball below.

Picture credit: Sportsfile

See Also: How A West Cork Man Demanded Ireland Be Represented On The Lions Kit

PJ Browne
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