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All bets off as Warburton tipped to be Lions captain

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Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton

PAUL O'CONNELL and Brian O'Driscoll face disappointment in their bid to captain the Lions for a second time after bookmakers suspended betting on Wales flanker Sam Warburton getting the role.

Warburton, who turned down the chance to captain Wales in their Six Nations victory over England last month, is the firm favourite to be tour captain after bookmakers suspended betting on him on Friday. The 24-year-old said the decision to be Lions captain would be a "no-brainer" but confessed he had to ask his father Jez what it meant when the bookies said they were no longer taking bets.

"I didn't understand at first, to be honest, because I don't bet," he said. "I didn't know whether it was a good or a bad thing. My dad was the one who texted me. He loves it, my dad. I said, 'what does that mean?' He said there's some inside information which has got out, or whatever. One minute it's O'Connell, the next it's O'Driscoll, then it's me," Warburton (pictured) said.

"It's difficult from a player's point of view. I've heard about it and had everybody texting me, asking me what's going on. I can only say, though, on my mother's life, I've had no indication.

"The players are often the last ones to find out about these things."

Lions coach Warren Gatland has maintained that he has made up his mind over his captain but has not yet approached that person for fear of alerting the media.

"It's a no-brainer," Warburton said. "It's the biggest honour any player could have. It's mind blowing when you think about it -- to have that accolade. Everybody who's done it has been a legend and it's very difficult and flattering to think that you're even in contention."

Online Editors