Peel backs 'born leader' Jones to captain Wales if Warburton quits

Updated: 

Dwayne Peel believes Wales are likely to see the best of Sam Warburton if he relinquishes the captaincy and thinks "born leader" Alun Wyn Jones is the obvious choice to replace him.

Back-row Warburton is expected to step down ahead of the Six Nations after leading his country a record 49 times during his six years in the role.

Warburton is said to be eager to focus on returning to the peak of his powers amid talk of his place in the Wales side being under threat, with openside flanker Justin Tipuric in outstanding form.

Former Wales scrum-half Peel feels Warburton and Wales can reap the rewards of a change in captaincy.

Peel told Omnisport: "Obviously he's been the captain for a number of years now. I'm surprised in a way I suppose, but I guess it's a personal decision for him.

"Whether he feels it's not for him anymore or it's affecting his game...Tipuric is playing really well at the minute as well.

"I'm quite a big fan of Warby, especially at international level, I think he's excellent in terms of what he offers with his physicality and the work he does on the floor.

"He's probably feeling the captaincy is overshadowing his performances a bit, so fair play to him for doing it. It's a big call from him, but's he's a good, honest guy and he works hard.

"If he does decide to step down I think we'll probably see the best of him as a player."

Bristol backs coach Peel, who toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions in 2005, is in no doubt that towering lock Jones should take over if Warburton opts to hand over the captaincy.

Asked if Jones should be appointed, Peel said: "Definitely. He's probably led a lot of the team anyway in the last couple of years.

"He's captained himself and within his nature he's a born leader. I think him doing it now coming towards the latter stage of his career is the perfect job for him.

"He's got massive respect, is playing brilliantly well for the Ospreys this year and he's relentless player. He keeps going and going, setting good standards and if Warby decides it's not for him then I definitely go with Alun Wyn for the next couple of years."