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19th Apr 2017

Cheeky mobile phone snap confirms the Lions captain we all expected

Shock, horror

Patrick McCarry

Well, knock us down with a feather.

Sam Warburton is set to captain the British & Irish Lions for the second time.

The Welsh flanker, who led his country at two World Cups and the 2013 Lions, has accepted the honour of leading the best and brightest of rugby’s home nations against New Zealand this summer.

It was pretty much a given that Warburton would lead the Lions – Ladbrokes’ Hayley O’Connor told The Hard Yards that betting on him taking the role had been suspended – but a knee injury sustained against Ulster planted the seeds of doubt.

All of that appears to have been dismissed and Warren Gatland will turn to a man he has so often turned to in the past.

Confirmation will officially arrive at midday today but this photo, taken by Donald McCrorie in London this morning, is all you need to know.

There’s ‘Warbs’ with the cuddly lion, Gatland at one side and a phalanx of coaches that include Andy Farrell, Neil Jenkins, Rob Howley, Steve Borthwick and Shaun Edwards.

Also in the photo – taking the officially sanctioned snaps – are the legendary Inpho Photography duo Billy Stickland and Dan Sheridan.

This was the 2013 photo, taken by Inpho, od Warburton and the lads:

Warburton to lead the Lions. You heard it here 101st.