Dylan Hartley reportedly set to miss Lions tour

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    Six Nations champions England look set to provide more than a third of the 2017 British and Irish Lions squad – but reports suggest Dylan Hartley is a certain absentee.

    Lions tour manager John Spencer will announce the squad on Wednesday (Thursday AEST).

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    While players like Ben Te’o, Elliot Daly, Joe Marler and Maro Itoje should become first-time Lions in New Zealand this summer, some high-profile casualties are also possible.

    Lions boss Warren Gatland and his coaching staff put the finishing touches to their selection during a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

    According to both the BBC and The Times, England captain Hartley has been overlooked, with Rory Best, Ken Owens and Jamie George the preferred hookers.

    Hartley has led Eddie Jones’ side to two Six Nations titles, a grand slam, a series whitewash of Australia and a world record-equalling run of 18 Test consecutive wins but indications are he will be omitted, while uncertainty also surrounds centre Jonathan Joseph, fly-half George Ford and lock Joe Launchbury.

    New Zealand-born former NRL star Te’o, who has made one England start in eight appearances, shone in front of watching Lions assistant coach Rob Howley when Worcester beat Aviva Premiership opponents Bath three days ago.

    England’s representation is set to be their largest since Clive Woodward selected 20 for the Lions’ 2005 New Zealand expedition, but Scotland, despite winning three recent Six Nations games, could be left with fullback Stuart Hogg as their solitary squad member.

    The Lions kick off their 10-match trip against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei on June 3, with the Blues, Crusaders, Highlanders, Maori All Blacks and Chiefs all on their agenda before the first of three Tests three weeks later.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • April 19th 2017 @ 9:47am
      Old Bugger said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      Is there a lesson learned observation, with this non-selection reflecting back to Ted Henry’s BILs, in 2001?? Reports from that tour, indicated disharmony was rife between certain English players and Henry, who at the time, was the Welsh coach, like Gatland.

      Who knows but IMO, I think choosing Warburton, if his fitness permits, as the BIL captain, is an inspirational choice for both coach and player and the last thing they would want, is a repeat of what happened, in 2001.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 4:42pm
        Bakkies said | April 19th 2017 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

        No there is no lesson learnt if it is true that Marler tours it will back fire. Marler is more of a hot head these days than Hartley, a poor scrummager and a shíthouse bloke.

        Warburton isn’t good enough to start in the tests and still has another 5 weeks of rehab to go

        • April 19th 2017 @ 7:23pm
          cuw said | April 19th 2017 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

          if SW starts , it may be as 6 – just like he did for Wales alongside Justin Tipuric , who is basically the best 7 in 6N competition.

          but it seems SW will be captain going by this.


          • April 20th 2017 @ 2:41am
            Bakkies said | April 20th 2017 @ 2:41am | ! Report

            Cuw is can understand Tupiric starting at 7 for the Lions but Warburton shouldn’t be ahead of O’Mahony, O’Brien and Stander at 6.

        • April 19th 2017 @ 8:42pm
          Fionn said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

          ‘ Marler is more of a hot head these days than Hartley, a poor scrummager and a shíthouse bloke.’


    • April 19th 2017 @ 9:59am
      mania said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      yeah hartley is still too much of a liability.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 10:06am
        JimmyB said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

        It’s not even that so much as the fact that the other three selected are better.

        • April 19th 2017 @ 10:40am
          mania said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          dunno if roryBest is better. but cant fault the other 2.

          • April 19th 2017 @ 1:21pm
            JimmyB said | April 19th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

            You’re right. Best is pretty lucky to be there too. If Gatland had an ounce of adventure about him, he’d have picked a Cronin or a Taylor, but alas, that’s just not his style.

        • April 20th 2017 @ 2:42am
          Bakkies said | April 20th 2017 @ 2:42am | ! Report

          Owens isn’t better than Hartley

      • April 19th 2017 @ 4:44pm
        Bakkies said | April 19th 2017 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

        For his club he is. As far as I know he has never been banned while playing for England

        • April 19th 2017 @ 7:25pm
          cuw said | April 19th 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

          April 2007 – banned for 26 weeks after being cited for eye-gouging Wasps forwards James Haskell and Johnny O’Connor.

          March 2012 – received an eight-week suspension after being cited for biting the finger of Ireland back row Stephen Ferris while playing for England in a Six Nations game.

          December 2012 – banned for two weeks after being cited for punching Ulster hooker Rory Best during a Heineken Cup match.

          May 2013 – sent off for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes during the Premiership final against Leicester at Twickenham. Received an 11-week suspension that prevented him from taking his place on the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.

          December 2014 – sent off for elbowing Leicester centre Matt Smith in the face. Banned for three weeks.

          May 2015 – banned for four weeks after head-butting Saracens’ Jamie George in Northampton’s 29-24 Aviva Premiership semi-final defeat to Saracens. As a direct consequence, England ruled Hartley out of their World Cup plans.

          December 2016 – sent off for striking Leinster flanker Sean O’Brien with a swinging arm. Suspended for six weeks.

    • April 19th 2017 @ 10:11am
      JimmyB said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      The amount of information that has seemingly been deliberately leaked by Gatland and his team would suggest that he’s preparing everybody for what he knows are going to be some very unpopular selections and non selections.
      It’s a thankless job that Gatland’s got, but gee, he’s made it so much harder for himself.
      If he was using the Lions tour as an audition for the ABs job, then he’s failed it already.

    • Roar Guru

      April 19th 2017 @ 10:21am
      Poth Ale said | April 19th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      The likely squad to be announced today:

      B3s: Hogg, Halfpenny, North, Nowell, Watson, Williams, Earls

      Mids: Daly, Henshaw, Teo, Davies, Roberts

      Flys: Sexton, Farrell, Biggar

      SH: Murray, Youngs, Webb

      Props: Marler, Vunipola, McGrath, Furlong, Sinckler, Cole

      Hooks: Best, Owens, George

      2nd Rows: Itoje, Kruis, Lawes, Wyn Jones, Ryan, Henderson

      Flanks: O’Brien, O’Mahony, Stander, Warburton (capt) , Tipuric

      8 Men: Vunipola, Faletau

      Crew of 40.

      All Welsh back 3 option

      English, Welsh and Irish combos available on the 9/10/12/13 axis

      Full Irish and Full English front row options

      Full English locks and a Welshman for the test side, Henderson and Ryan for midweek

      Full Welsh back row option and potentially full Irish back row option for a midweek game.

      28 British and 12 Irish Lions.

      Roll on for what should be a great series.

      • Roar Guru

        April 19th 2017 @ 8:43pm
        Fionn said | April 19th 2017 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

        Hope O’Mahony gets a start. He’s a beast and will improve the Lions, and he deserves it.

        • April 19th 2017 @ 9:56pm
          Bakkies said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

          Going to be tough now with the rest of the flankers only competing for one spot in the starting test side

          • Roar Guru

            April 20th 2017 @ 7:27am
            Fionn said | April 20th 2017 @ 7:27am | ! Report

            Yes, you’re right.

    • April 19th 2017 @ 6:49pm
      davSA said | April 19th 2017 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

      The one omission that should have happened but hasn’t is leaving Gatland behind.

    • April 19th 2017 @ 7:00pm
      maxxlord said | April 19th 2017 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

      Not sure that Heaslip can be left out, unless its no longer about Rugby.

      • April 19th 2017 @ 9:55pm
        Bakkies said | April 19th 2017 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

        Injured and if he was fit 50/50 at best for tour selection

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