Can Warren Gatland afford to leave Dylan Hartley out of Lions squad?
Questions persist over England captain’s form but character and temperament are important factors too and the hooker could play a vital role in New Zealand
Warren Gatland names his British & Irish Lions squad in the tranquil setting of Syon Park next Wednesday, a venue that is within earshot of the stadium at Twickenham. As he and his management team ponder the final few names in the 37 for New Zealand, that of the England captain, Dylan Hartley, will already have provoked long debate.
Gatland picked Hartley in the 2013 squad for Australia only for the then Northampton captain to be sent off in the Premiership final at Twickenham and receive a long ban that ruled him out. No sooner had Gatland mentioned the hooker as a potential captain for this summer’s tour than Hartley was shown another red card for clouting Sean O’Brien in the face at a ruck while playing for the Saints against Leinster.