Sam Warburton poses as Lions captain hours before the announcement
The worst-kept secret in world rugby was leaked early, but Sam Warburton has now been confirmed as captain of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.
An unverified photo of Warburton in a Lions jersey appeared on social media several hours before the Lions squad was officially announced.
The snap showed Warburton posing alongside Warren Gatland and his Lions 2017 coaching staff - Neil Jenkins, Graham Rowntree, Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley.
World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper appeared to confirm the news by tweeting: "Many congratulations to @samwarburton_ on becoming only the second player, after Martin Johnson, to captain two @lionsofficial tours."
The Welsh flanker, who captained the Lions to a series victory in Australia in 2013, was officially confirmed as captain in a later press conference. He joins former England star Martin Johnson as a two-time Lions captain.
He said it was an "amazing honour" and that the squad "looks very very strong".
The 28-year-old was replaced as Wales captain this year by Alun Wyn Jones, who will also be in the touring party, but has long been a favourite of Gatland.