Brian O'Driscoll should lead the British and Irish Lions team ahead of Paul O'Connell, according to Gavin Hastings. The Grand Slam winning centre and second row are the prime candidates to captain the Test side on the 10-week trip to South Africa beginning in May, but Hastings, a former captain of the Lions, has backed O'Driscoll to be awarded the honour by the coach Ian McGeechan.
"Undoubtedly it's going to be between Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell," said Hastings. "With Brian having lifted Ireland's first Grand Slam in 61 years he's probably going to be favourite though. "Paul O'Connell is a wonderful leader of the team as well. "In this day and age of rugby there's normally four or five leaders on the field and that will continue with the Lions. "I just think Brian O'Driscoll has played so well this year it would almost be a fitting tribute to the way he has played were he to be named Lions skipper."
Former Scotland full-back Hastings believes there might be more Englishmen in McGeechan's squad than many would have imagined when Martin Johnson's team were struggling early on in their Six Nations campaign. Victories over France and Scotland meant England finished their campaign on a high though, and Hastings claims that will have given McGeechan food for thought. "There's no doubt the majority of players will come from Wales and Ireland but England's strong finish to the Six Nations, pushing them up to second, means they will feature a lot of players," he said.
"All credit to them for coming good." * PA