Sam Warburton reckons his old Cardiff Blues team-mate Dan Baugh wasn’t telling the truth when he gave him the reason behind his nickname, ‘Avatar’.

“It was because I was tall and gangly,” said the former Wales skipper, who was rising to prominence in 2010, when the hit movie by the same name was released, “and because I would do whatever he told me to do.

“He always said it was nothing to do with my looks but I knew it was my nose and deep-set eyes.”

Whatever inspired Warburton’s nickname, that and his status as a British and Irish Lions icon makes him a natural choice to be one of the legends helping Vodafone’s ‘Digital Lions’ launch today.

The British telecommunications company, the shirt sponsor for the Lions’ tour to South Africa next summer, has created the official Lions Tour app, which gives fans the opportunity to create their own Lions avatar.

Selfie technology has been integrated to create a digital likeness, and fans will be able to select a range of animations at launch including celebrating, running and dodging tackles.

Warburton looks on during the 2017 tour

The animations are based on real-body movements of former Lions skipper Warburton, one of only two men two captain the team twice along with Martin Johnson.

As well as two other former stars in Paul O’Connell and Jeremy Guscott, and ex-head coach Sir Ian McGeechan.

Warburton added: “Me and Paul had to get these skin-tight, sprayed-on suits on, which you feel quite exposed wearing.

“But we loved getting the pads out and smashing them to replicate tackling.

“It was good fun and it’s a nice initiative from Vodafone to get the buzz of the Lions going.

“When you think about the times we’re living in now it’s probably quite a timely shirt sponsor.

“Covid has accelerated the world — the technology has always been there but the way we operate and communicate has been accelerated, so it’s quite good timing from them.”

Fans can create their personalised Digital Lion by downloading the Official 2021 Lions Tour App available here today on iOS and Android and from the Google Play Store