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'It couldn't be more obvious' - England star tipped to succeed AWJ

By Kim Ekin
Alun Wyn Jones /PA

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Former British & Irish Lions scrumhalf Matt Dawson has backed Maro Itoje to take over the captaincy of the tour to Australia in 2025.


Dawson – who toured with the Lions in 1997, 2001 and 2005 – says first he’d like to see the Saracens’ second row captain England.

Dawson sees Itoje – who will be 30 in 2025, as the natural successor to Alun Wyn Jones who has conceded that tour of South Africa will be his last.

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“Alun Wyn Jones deserves all the accolades for being a modern-day Lions great,” Dawson told the William Hill website. “He’s been one of the great, great rugby players and Lions. To play 12 straight Tests in this day and age, I just can’t see it happening ever again, it’s that good a record.

“He will be missed but the sooner I see someone like Maro Itoje pick up the armband the better. I want to see him captaining England, I want to see him captaining the Lions. He’s such a force, such a performer. An incredible player, and an incredible man. It couldn’t be more obvious that he should be captaining his country and putting his hat in the ring to be the next captain for the Lions tour in 2025.”

Dawson also likened Finn Russell to All Blacks‘ great Dan Carter.

“Finn Russell was excellent and made a huge difference to the way the Lions played,” he said. “He showed that not only is he such a skilful and visionary player but when he’s amongst fellow great players, he can be super special. If he was an All Black, you’d be saying he’s the next Dan Carter, he’s that good.


“And I think he realised that. You could see in his interview afterwards, this was a real seminal moment in his career where he can do this at the highest level. Why is he not doing this week-in, week-out for Scotland and Racing 92? It wasn’t risky rugby, it was imaginative, the right plays, the right passes, the right kicks. Hopefully, it was a big moment for Finn and going into the next Lions tour in four years, he should be thinking he’ll be the main man.”


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