‘Hartley’s captaincy chances slim’ – Gatland

Date published: March 21 2017

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland explained why England skipper Dylan Hartley’s chances of captaining the touring team are slim.

The Lions tour New Zealand in June and Gatland names his squad on April 19 and is on the hunt for the ideal captain to lead the side against the All Blacks.

Gatland didn’t hide his cards when expressing his sentiments on Hartley’s form and his likelihood of starting for the Lions.

“Dylan’s done a really good job but he knows he’s under pressure from Jamie George, and a lot of people rate Jamie highly,” Gatland told The Times.

“There’s also Rory Best who’s done well with Ireland, Ken Owens had a good Six Nations – there’s a fair bit of competition about the captaincy and also the hooker position.

“If I was going to pick a Test team tomorrow you want to be picking a captain who you’re reasonably confident will be in the Test team. That’s one of the criteria, it’s not a guarantee but it is a criteria.”

With current Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones potentially out with a shoulder injury, Gatland mentioned another resected Welsh leader in Sam Warburton that could lead the charge in New Zealand.

“He’s a different captain to other players, he leads by example, doesn’t say a lot and he’s had that experience and he’s in contention, definitely,” Gatland told the BBC.

Warburton could be an easy pick for Gatland, as besides holding Welsh leadership previously, the flanker skippered the Lions to a victory in their last campaign in Australia four years ago.