Why Ryan Jones should captain the Lions

2009 will be upon us before we can say “This is your Everest boys”, and that means the next Lions Tour is just around the corner. The Six Nations will take on additional significance as a result as players from the Home Nations look to impress Ian McGeechan and cement their places on the plane to South Africa.

Ryan Jones

Debate has already started over who should captain the side. Brian O’Driscoll has seen a return to form, and didn’t really get a chance to show his mettle as he was dump-tackled out of the first test in New Zealand. Fellow Irishman Paul O’Connell and Mike Blair from Scotland are also in the frame, but Ryan Jones is the standout candidate for me.

Wales is the only country to have won anything of note in the last four years, with two Grand Slams and a victory over Australia last month. Jones has led with incredible determination, and he seems to be a likeable character that would be able to galvanise men from four different nations to face the World Champions.

It’s also fairly likely that the largest component of the Test team will be Welsh: Shane Williams, Lee Byrne, Gethin Jenkins, Alun Wyn-Jones, Martyn Williams, Stephen Jones are all likely starters. Jones already captains these players and they are likely to respond well to the familiar voice.

Moreover, you cannot question Jones’ commitment to the cause, and he has taken the fight to the Southern Hemisphere nations like no other. He led the challenge of the Haka, refusing to stand down despite the referee’s pleas, and he was as influential as ever in the win over the Wallabies. Some have questioned his recent form and whether his place in the lions team is guaranteed, but his performances against the leading nations will not have gone unnoticed.

The Six Nations will obviously be telling, but with Wales the clear favourites to retain the title, Jones will surely get the nod.

Who do you think should captain the Lions?

20 thoughts on “Why Ryan Jones should captain the Lions

  1. Who do I think should captain the Lions?

    Not Ryan Jones, that’s for sure.

    He’s over-rated, slow and a terrible off-the-field captain. He was rubbish in South africa and woeful this autumn. Completely over-hyped and he’s nothing more than an average backrower, who just happens to have pounced during a particularly poor 6N spell. Blair, O’Driscoll or even Vickery for me instead.

    Just because Jones stands there and looks like a plonker to the haka after what Gatland told him to do, doesn’t mean he should be captain

  2. Ryan Jones, as well as the reasons already stated by the person who opened this debate he also played very well against New Zealand in the last Lions Tour.

  3. I think its a good point about there being a strong Welsh contingent and they would indeed respond well to their captain; who did incedently lead them to a stunning Grand Slam performance and a deserved victory over a southern hemisphere side (the only northern hemisphere team to do so this year). That said Ryan Jones has looked a little sluggish, well at least until that Australia game.

    I would disagree with noway’s comments about him standing there looking like a plonker – that was a great repsonse to the haka which helped create a tremendous atmosphere. As for Phil Vickery being captain – have you watched any rugby in the last 3 years?

    For me its Ryan Jones, Paul O’Connell and maybe Nick Easter as a wild card?

  4. Ryan Jones was outstanding in 2005. But that was nearly 4 years ago. In terms of playing ability, he’s been nothing more than average, and there are plenty of better back-rowers out there.

    People saying there should be a strong welsh contingent, need to realise that there’s still an entire Six Nations to get through. When was the last time Wales strung two good seasons together? The 1970s?

    Easter would be a good pick for England captaincy thinking about it.

    But NO to Jones. Over-rated, and horribly arrogant as well. Not the sort we need. Unless we want our number 8 (who isn’t good enough to play number 8 for his country) to keep dropping balls every time he gets a pass.

  5. Sorry, but the Captain has to be the first name on the teamsheet in his position – and at the moment Powell is (quite rightly) keeping Jones out of No.8 for his own country, and, frankly, there are better flankers. but there’s a long 6N to go yet, it could all change.

  6. Ryan Jones,

    lets not get het up with captains yet we still ahve to go through another Welsh Grand Slam in 09.

    That sounds great as a Welshman.

    Its evident that the captaincy will be a difficult one, but what is for sure is that England are leaderless lack luster and woeful, and could not lead a guide dog.

    I have an idea! Why not as we have so many overseas players draining the clubs of well earned cash, dont we be politcally correct and have some foreign players in the team,come on it has to happen in every other walk of life,

    Thats a Joke! for all you PC warmongers out there.

    Captain of the Lions.

    Think it will be on of the Paddies (oops is that racist) I should say one of the Irish Chaps, o Connell for me.

    Ryan will be lucky to make the dirt trackers with Mr Powell breathing down his throat like a mad miner from monmouth.

    Thank god the Lions Jersey is Red as i feel we are heading for a mainly Taff team( hush my mouth another racist use of slang) mainly hairy assed sons of sons of miners i mean.

  7. Noway – Ryan Jones arrogant? That is the funniest thing I have read all week. A lot of ignorant comments based what exactly?? . You couldn’t be further from the truth. I know the guy personally.

    Ryan has not been firing on all cylinders this season. He did play very well against New Zealand and Australia. He is a very good leader and that is what a team needs.

    Lets have a look at the past 2 Captains:
    BOD – Deserved it. Good player and good leader.
    Martin Johnson – Great captain but not the best 2nd row in the UK. Picked for his leadership qualities. In fact Ryan Jones is pobably a better Rugby player than Johnson was.

    Noway – Based on current form England will be lucky to get a player in the test XV. Who would you suggest as captain? Borthwick?

  8. I think the Lions Captain s a no brainer. Paul O’Connell will lead the Lions because what the Lions need to do is precisely what O’Connel does for Munster , bring passion and intelligence to the field.

    Not since Anthony Foley have we seen a forward with such coolness and smartness between the ears.

    Only two certainties – O’Connell and Wallace ( at 8 or anywhere in the b’row)

  9. O’ Connell or Ryan Jones it must be , I’d echo Loadofoldtosh about the arogant slur by noway too , clearly posted by someone whose never even been in the same room as Ryan as he’s the least arrogant person in the Welsh squad. I know who the most arrogant is too but I think you can all have a guess at that one.

    If Barry is right and passion and intelligence is needed then Ryan has both these this in spades .

    Could swing either way a lot of Welshmen in the test team then their used to Ryan alternatively pick a captain from another country to even it up a bit and pull the others in maybe . What’s certain is that the captain must be worth his place in the test side,

  10. Paul O’Connell will be the first name on the Lions team sheet. No argument, he’s a born leader no contest.


    -He is not in great form and would be seriously lucky to make the team in the first place(ferris, haskell, leamy, powell)

    -He isn’t a proven good captain as he has only ever experienced being welsh captain while things are good.

    -He isn’t that great a player and is over-shadowed in his own team by martyn williams and andy powell.

    -O’Driscoll is much more experienced.

    -Blair controls his team and dictates their gameplan.

    -O’Connell leads by example and will still be most influential forward even if not captain.

  12. Neil ,

    Form-To be fair Ryan played well after being out injured against Scotland perhaps the last game against Ireland may decide this lets hope it’s for aGrand Slam for both sides.

    Not a proven captain as he’s only seen good things , I don’t understand the logic of this as the best captain of all would be one who always captains a winning side surely . Anyway it’s not true he’s seen set backs for Wales in the autumn and as captain for the Ospreys.

    Over-shadowed in his own team -but the back row is all about balance and Ryan when he’s there adds to this. Richard Hill was probably overshadowed by Dallagio and Back in the best balanced back row to come out of the British Isles but we can all see what he contributed now and the Lions lost a series when the Aussies took him out .Ok I accept Ryan has a bit to do to get up there with Hill but so do those players you mention in your first paragraph.

    O’Driscoll certainly is playing better than of late I wonder about his Lions “baggage” though perhaps he can be more free in his play if relieved of Captains duties -I think they’ll go for aforward this time.

    Blair if he does what you say then Scotlands results don’t say a lot for it.

    O’Connell I think would make an excellent Lions captain in the Martin Johnson mould so it may all come down to that last Six Nations game.

  13. would have to say o’connell! great leader and gives o’driscoll a bit more freedom and lets him relax a bit more! cant see to mnaby english men on it! if i was too pick a team only sackey would b on it

  14. I have to agree with Frank and Fakey. Its got to be O’Connell all the way. He has all qualities needed to lead the lions. He is a great player, an inspirational leader and a great motivator. Jones is not even assured his position in the test team.

  15. I definetly agree that RYAN JONES is a good leader. However, I think
    BRIAN O’DRISCOLL is better because he has tons of expeirience and is cooler!!!

  16. I think it is done and dusted – with both O’Connell and O’Driscoll nailed on as starters – its a case of going with the Geek standard – a tough edged Forward.

    Either way it is safe to say the lions will have leaders in the pack and backs with POC and BOD

  17. man, lots of heated personal comments above. My take Ryan Jones is a great player, maybe not a Lions captain, but definitely a leader, great club captain and national captain. Lions has to be on form. But seriously, don’t insult the guy. You seen him interviewed on TV. On of the most indearing and likeable rugby players ever. Quality guy. Check out UTV 2009 grand slam special about Ireland 2009.

  18. Can’t please all the people. POC will do the job. Ryan Jones is a great player – he has passion and leadership in spades. Arrogant, get real and get off his back. I know him personally. He is a top guy, on and off the field. Look around; you’re lucky to have him.

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