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Paul O'Connell picks his Lions...
Rugby

Paul O'Connell picks his Lions captain | 'He's a standout leader'

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

16:34 15 Apr 2021

Paul O'Connell has chosen Owen Farrell as his 'standout leader' for the British and Irish Lions tour this summer.

Not unfamiliar with leadership himself, the endorsement will no doubt be greeted well by the Ireland coach's son.

Paul O'Connell on Farrell

“I like Owen Farrell. He’s a real standout leader for me,” O’Connell told the PA news agency.

“With matches being played without crowds, you can hear so much of what the players are saying during games. You can hear Owen barking at his own players and encouraging them.

“A lot of it is about getting off the line and the physical side of the game, but a lot of it is also coaching people into position as well.

“He’s pretty experienced, he’s been on two tours already and he has a big leadership role with England. It wouldn’t be unfamiliar territory for him.

“There are plenty of guys who could do the job, but for me in terms of experience and an appetite to lead, he’s the real standout.

“When you pick a captain or leaders for the Lions tour, it’s about picking guys who are willing to take ownership of what the plan is. Owen is a guy who enjoys leading and enjoys taking ownership.

"He’s almost coaching.”

Six Nations

O'Connell gives the England captain something of a pass for the Six Nations.

“As a team England didn’t play as well as they’d have liked in the Six Nations,” O’Connell said. “Is that a reflection on Owen Farrell? I don’t really think so.

“But it’s probably a bit of a challenge for him now going from the Six Nations to not having a lot of class rugby. England’s form isn’t a good thing, but it gives him perspective on how hard it is to get it right.”

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