Sam Warburton: Lions captaincy is the pinnacle of my career

He becomes only the second man ever to lead two tours

Sam Warburton: Lions captaincy is the pinnacle of my career

British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Sam Warburton has described becoming the Lions captain again as the pinnacle of his career as he becomes only the second person to captain the touring squad twice.

Warburton was the tour captain to Australia in 2013 when the Lions won their first series, since the 2-1 win in 1997 against South Africa. 

Speaking to Sky Sports at the announcement of the squad on Wednesday, he said: "It's an amazing thing to hear - to captain the Lions. It's the pinnacle of my career and this tour is another step up because it's New Zealand. It's absolutely an amazing honour and I'm thrilled that Warren picked me."

The Welshman is currently sidelined with a knee injury and he believed that his chances of making the squad, let alone being named as captain were in doubt after Head Coach Warren Gatland rang to enquire about his knee.

Speaking about the call, Warburton said: "Well at first he was checking up on my knee and just asking me how the injury was. Perhaps that could have been a slight concern when I got that and I thought it might have dampened my chances of being picked in the squad full-stop.

Warren Gatland, Sam Warburton and John Spencer. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

"So that was disappointing, the timing of that was quite frustrating. It was just a general catch-up really because even though Warren's been around all the camps - Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England, we don't actually have that much conversation because there has to be be no bias in the 12 months he's been with the Lions," he added.

Warburton relinquished the Welsh captaincy earlier this season because he felt his performances had dipped and he needed to focus on what he was doing to get his career back on track. "My form has definitely gotten better since I have relinquished the Welsh captaincy," he said.

"It has all been geared towards performance and the reason I wasn't captain was to make sure I got back on form. Now I feel I am back on form and I'm more than happy to take on that role on as Lions captain."