Lions 2013: Irish stars can boost Warburton, says Alun Wyn Jones

Sam Warburton and Alun Wyn Jones

Irish legends Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell can help Sam Warburton as British and Irish Lions captain in Australia, says Alun Wyn Jones.

Lock Jones is heading for his second Lions tour while centre O'Driscoll is making his fourth and lock O'Connell his third.

At 24, Welshman Warburton is the youngest Lions skipper in 55 years.

"Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell have got a huge wealth of experience," said Jones.

"And not every player will play every game.

"It's going to be tough to ask any player to do that and Sam's just the same.

"I don't think he'd expect to play every game, plus you need that extra ability to use the best out of people around you.

"And I think Sam will be able to do that by employing the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell and the experience they've had and the experience of previous Lions tours."

Leinster's O'Driscoll led the Lions on the 2005 tour to New Zealand only to have his Test involvement curtailed to the opening minutes of the first encounter of a 3-0 series loss by a controversial shoulder injury.

Munster's O'Connell was joined by Jones at lock for the 2-1 Test series defeat by South Africa in 2009 with the Irishman as captain.

The Celtic rivals and Lions team-mates were both touted as potential captains for the Lions against the Wallabies.

Jones admits the idea was "flattering", but says Lions rookie Warburton can only benefit from the presence of the likes of O'Driscoll and O'Connell.

"Knowing Paul O'Connell and guys like that and the professionalism they display when they are captain, they'll just display it by being led by another man," said the Ospreys skipper.

Jones also feared his would count against him when Lions coach Warren Gatland and his coaches discussed the tour party.

He returned from a shoulder injury midway through Wales' successful 2013 Six Nations defence and did enough to warrant inclusion on the Lions tour.

"Pre-Christmas I had very little expectation of getting back into the squad for the Six Nations, let alone the Lions," said Jones.

"And there was a bit of trepidation when selection was made. If I were not selected having been there before in '09 I would have realised what I'd be missing."

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