sport news New Zealand legend Sean Fitzpatrick discusses Alun Wyn Jones-Maro Itoje Lions ...

New Zealand legend Sean Fitzpatrick has endorsed Alun Wyn Jones to lead the British and Irish Lions in South Africa this summer, stating 'he's just a classic leader of men, isn't he?'

Head coach Warren Gatland will announce his 36-man squad on Thursday, with 35-year-old Jones tipped to lead the team on the his fourth tour with the Lions.

And not many are more experienced or better-versed in the traits of a successful leader on the international stage than the former All Blacks captain Fitzpatrick.

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has been tipped to lead the Lions in South Africa this summer

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has been tipped to lead the Lions in South Africa this summer

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Head coach Warren Gatland will announce his 36-man squad for the tour on Thursday

Head coach Warren Gatland will announce his 36-man squad for the tour on Thursday

Sean Fitzpatrick, chairman of Laureus (pictured), weighed in on the big calls for the Lions

Sean Fitzpatrick, chairman of Laureus (pictured), weighed in on the big calls for the Lions

Having earned 92 caps for New Zealand, Fitzpatrick led his country in 1993 in a three-match series against the Lions and also captained a star-studded squad, including rugby icon Jonah Lomu, at the 1995 World Cup.

The former Hooker weighed in on the tough decisions facing Gatland for the highly-anticipated Test series later this year.

'Alun Wyn Jones's form of late would suggest that Gats (Gatland) would go with him. Gatland knows him as well as anyone,' Fitzpatrick, who is chairman of Laureus, explained ahead of their 2021 Sports Awards this weekend.

'He has shown some great form during the Six Nations to win it. Albeit, one minute away from winning a Grand Slam. But to win the Championship, a lot had to do with his leadership in very trying situations. 

'He would get my vote. He is a phenomenal rugby player. His longevity and the way he has managed himself over the last couple of years with the amount of games he had played.

'He also has a lot of experience in terms of the Lions and that count's for a lot. In terms of what is needed to bring the four nations together very quickly. 

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'I can assure you it will be a very weird tour to South Africa, that is not an easy place to tour. Very similar to what you get in New Zealand, they are mad on rugby.'  

Opting for experience over the future would see England lock Maro Itoje miss out on the captaincy after a forgettable Six Nations for the Eddie Jones' Red Roses. 

Opting for experience over the future would see England lock Maro Itoje miss out on captain

Opting for experience over the future would see England lock Maro Itoje miss out on captain

'He is a shoe-in to be selected in the Test team,' Fitzpatrick said of Itoje, but warned: 'the pressure of being captain, I

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