'I hate bashing the guy' - Luke Fitzgerald picks five Irish in his Lions Test XV but expects Warburton to start
Former Leinster, Ireland and Lions star Luke Fitzgerald believes Lions captain Sam Warburton shouldn't be in Warren Gatland's matchday 23 for the first Test against the All Blacks on June 24, never mind the starting XV.
Sean O'Brien have thrown themselves into the mix to start against Steve Hansen's men after impressing during the Lions 12-3 win over the Crusaders at the weekend.
Fit-again Warburton will skipper the Lions in Tuesday's Highlanders clash, but feels he needs to string two or three showings together to hit top form after recovering from an ankle injury.
For Fitzgerald, there is no way the Welshman should start ahead of O'Mahony or O'Brien.
"I hate it but I think he will. I think he's the least talented of the three. I wouldn't have him in the 23. I hate bashing the guy but I think the other two are way more talented," he told today's episode of The Left Wing.
"He's not a patch on (O'Mahony and O'Brien) at lineout time or around the pitch. Seanie is very dangerous around the pitch. I don't think there is any comparison.
"He's not even in consideration in my team but I think Gatland will try and get him in."
Fitzgerald revealed the starting XV he would choose to take on New Zealand in just under a fortnight and included five Irish men.
He includes the Leinster trio of Johnny Sexton, Tadhg Furlong and Sean O'Brien and the Munster duo of Peter O'Mahony and Conor Murray.
He also believes Robbie Henshaw, Jack McGrath and Jared Payne are on the verge of becoming Test starters.
Luke Fitzgerald's Lions Test team:
15. Anthony Watson
14. George North
13. Ben Te'o
12. Owen Farrell
11. Liam Williams
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray
1. Mako Vunipola
2. Ken Owens
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. George Kruis
5. Alun Wyn Jones
6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Sean O'Brien
8. Taulupe Faletau