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


"I was trying not to get excited about it". He certainly leads by his actions.

"I've become a better player since being part of the last Lions tour", he said.

"He's done a good job coming off the bench and is playing well for Saracens", Gatland said. It was Tom James, to be exact. They had been messing with me for days.

"It then rang and said Gats".

"The boys have no standards".

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Assessing his appointment for a second successive Lions trip, Warburton added: "I'm a lot more relaxed this time around than I was four years ago because I half know what to expect".

"I was with the Blues and they'd been asking me for weeks whether I was captain", said Warburton.

"I'm gutted for him because I would have thought he was one that was nailed on".

On paper I believe the squad they'll pick for this tour will be a little bit stronger than the Lions, and with home advantage and their unbeaten run at home to protect, they'll have the upper hand over the Lions.

Warburton felt the captaincy would go to one of the current worldwide skippers in the squad, but believes he is better prepared for the job now then four years ago when he led the Lions to victory over Australia.

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"I talked myself out of it all the time, which is why the phone call (from Gatland) was surprising".

Ultimately it came down to a straight choice between Launchbury or his England team-mate Lawes with Wasps director of rugby Dai Young "mystified" by the call to leave out his club captain.

"The best thing that bonds teams is going through games with each other and going through the pressure of a match day and working hard for each other".

"Wherever we go in New Zealand, we're going to be inundated by fans who are incredibly excited about us being there and also very knowledgeable about the Lions, the players, the performances and the expectation as well". He'll undoubtedly be very, very disappointed, but what's struck me is how resilient he is.

Quite what the locals will make of his plans to reply with songs in Welsh and Gaelic remains to be seen, but Gatland has also suggested some classic local films that he hopes will help the tourists understand his compatriots' humour and outlook.

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Forwards (22): Rory Best (Ireland), Dan Cole (England), Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Jamie George (England), Iain Henderson (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), George Kruis (England), Courtney Lawes (England), Joe Marler (England), Jack McGrath (Ireland), Ross Moriarty (Wales), Sean O'Brien (Ireland), Peter O'Mahony (Ireland), Ken Owens (Wales), Kyle Sinckler (England), CJ Stander (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Mako Vunipola (England), Billy Vunipola (England), Sam Warburton (Wales, captain).