British Lions 'easiest team to captain' with so many leaders, says Farrell

British Lions 'easiest team to captain' with so many leaders, says Farrell

Peter O'Mahony is fast emerging as the surprise frontrunner to lead the British & Irish Lions in Saturday's first Test against New Zealand.

Our team of expert commentators, reporters and pundits includes World Cup victor Ben Kay as lead co-commentator for all three Tests against the All Blacks, with fellow former Lion and Welsh legend Shane Williams also a key part of talkSPORT's coverage for the Test series and other tour matches.

Read has been sidelined since breaking his thumb while on Super Rugby duty for the Crusaders just over seven weeks ago.

The Lions face the Waikato Chiefs later on Tuesday, with coach Warren Gatland expected to name his side for the first of three tests against the All Blacks on Thursday. "He is desperate to play".

"He has had his first real solid hit out with contact (today) and hopefully he comes through that well".

Number eight Read, who has won 97 caps, took over as skipper from Richie McCaw after the 2015 World Cup and is a huge part of New Zealand's bid to topple the Lions.

Having him at the helm, while not essential, will provide a sizeable boost to his teammates.

"He has been a big part of the leadership group for a long time now, and just the way he grew into the [captaincy] role past year [was impressive]", Foster added. He has a very inclusive leadership style, encourages a lot of decision-making from the group around him and earned a lot of respect for that.

However, veteran All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino would welcome the return of Read to help combat what he believes will be a world class Lions loose trio. At the start of the tour, our discipline was letting the continuity down but we are solving that problem now.

The game will be the sixth of the tour, and the last before the Lions take on the All Blacks.

"You look at the XV that are starting and realise that we've been together and played together, buy and large, for a couple of games now", he said.

"Sean O'Brien was huge over the weekend with how he slowed the ball down".

O'Mahony's prowess in the lineout, physicality around the pitch and sheer grunt work at the breakdown - in attack and defence - have seen him talked up as a live option to wear the No.6 jersey against the All Blacks.

"To be honest, it'd be the easiest team to captain because there are so many leaders out there.What the guys who have captained the side so far have realised is they don't have to be vocal all the time, because there's always people that's helping them out and I think the balance has been great so far".

O'Mahony captained the side during Saturday's win over the New Zealand Maoris and impressed with his leadership skills and communication with referee Jaco Peyper, who will take charge of Saturday's encounter.