wnol.info May 30 2017


Dylan Hartley set to captain England in Argentina after Lions squad omission

May 30 2017, 07:17 | Van Peters

Sam Warburton was named captain of the British and Irish Lions for the second time on Wednesday as coach Warren Gatland unveiled a bumper 41-man squad for the 10-match tour of New Zealand that he described as the biggest challenge in rugby.

World Cup-winning coach Hansen was impressed by the depth at Gatland's disposal for the tour, which includes three internationals against the All Blacks.

"From a personal perspective, he was one player when we played Ireland in Dublin before the last World Cup, he really caused us problems", said Gatland. Gats would have okayed the idea - I'm sure they would have spoken to him about what sort of itinerary the Lions would need.

Warburton was the skipper and Gatland, again on secondment from his job as Wales boss, the coach when the Lions won 2-1 in Australia four years ago.

"Being culturally prepared for our tour of New Zealand is important to us and something we intend to embrace by sharing some of our team's cultures, whether it be in English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish", he said.

"Having just come back from New Zealand, I think that they may be underestimating just how strong this squad could be", Fitzgerald told Sky Sports.

"You have got to play your game and understand what you are good at and how you are going to attack them with, or without, the ball".

I'm just wondering whether it's the type of environment where someone who is a leader in the way he does it for England would fit into that mould in a Lions situation. Maybe "Whale Rider". "Boy".

The gaffe happened when a photograph emerged of Warburton in full Lions kit posing with tour officials.

He knows what it takes to win in New Zealand.

Gatland's squad will be aiming to become just the second Lions party to win a test series in New Zealand, with the combined side's lone series success against the All Blacks coming in 1971 - when tour manager John Spencer, the former England worldwide, was in the squad.

Yet the idea that the Lions coaching staff are pinning their hopes on reprising the Chicago formula was given short shrift by one of its principal architects, Andy Farrell.

"He's looked at what happened in '05, when they (the Lions) misread the atmosphere and got it totally wrong". Two sides that are very confident in the way they are playing, two sides that seem to be comfortable in what they are about as men and as a team.

"If they can gel as a team and all the players get in the right psychological frame of mind, then they have a chance".

"And we are not playing at home".

Listen, we all know what Dylan Hartley is capable of. The great thing about those three 10s is they all think they're better than each other. That gives an idea of what their expectation is. "I've got a bit of catching up to do, but it's exciting and I'm going to push everyone as hard as I can".



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