England captain Dylan Hartley remains calm about his prospects of making the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
Hartley missed out on the Lions tour in 2013 after being handed a suspension for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes, and faces a tight battle to make the squad four years on.
Many outlets are backing Saracens hooker Jamie George, Hartley’s understudy with England, to make the tour ahead of Hartley, while Ireland’s Rory Best, Wales’ Ken Owens and Scotland’s Fraser Brown are also contenders.
Less than a week from the announcement, Hartley discussed how honoured he would be to make the cut, while adding that he was trying to keep the prospect of being picked, or missing out, at the back of his mind.
“I think it is the ultimate privilege for any players from the British Isles,” Hartley told the Telegraph.
“To go would be one hell of an experience I am sure, from what I have heard from previous tours. For the guys that do make the tour it will be the trip of a lifetime.
“I am not counting my chickens and I am not getting my hopes up because in a week’s time it could all be taken away. It is one of those things. It is around the corner, you know it is around the corner. It is not something I am overly thinking about or worrying about. I am just thinking about week to week.
“I have [faced] a good line of hookers [in succession]. I have had Tom Youngs, Tommy Taylor last week. I could have Jamie George this week then Luke Cowan-Dickie the next. They just don’t stop coming so I am just enjoying the games.
“That is uncontrollable, that stuff [the Lions]. I can’t comment on it – I don’t know what is happening. Either way I am going to be in a good place wherever I am this summer.”