Hartley in the running for Lions captaincy

Date published: January 28 2017

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland says Dylan Hartley still has a shot at leading the Lions on their tour to New Zealand later this year.

With the tour fast approaching Gatland has yet to name his captain. 

Many names have been thrown into the ring, with Sam Warburton, Alun Wyn-Jones and controversial England skipper Hartley all being mentioned as possible candidates.

But the Gatland says Hartley has a chance, depending on whether he can replicate his leadership form of last season and lead England to another Grand Slam.

"If Dylan Hartley leads England to another Grand Slam that could sway it," Gatland told the Daily Telegraph.

"Dylan has done a great job with his leadership with England …The sending-off looked like frustration to me. But Dylan has to contend with pressure, too, that of Jamie George pushing for his place."

Gatland believes that if England perform as well as they did last year, the other teams will try and reach their level which could mean an elevated standard of performances in the tournament, which will benefit the Lions.

"The best thing is to have a strong England for the simple reason that all the other countries will be gunning for them, looking to knock them over, and so England will have to cope with that as well deal with the pressure of expectation that is on them as Grand Slam champions and on this long run of successive wins," he added.

"The players from the other countries will be absolutely up for it, busting a gut to put one over on England because the rewards for doing so are going to be massive, in the tournament itself and potentially for the Lions selection."