Borthwick feels Hartley's pain after Lions snub


Steve Borthwick knows better than most how Dylan Hartley felt after the England captain was left out of the British and Irish Lions squad for this year's tour of New Zealand on Wednesday.

Sam Warburton will captain the Lions for the second time.

New Zealand-born 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 four days ago.

Warburton stood down from the Wales captaincy this season and is now out with a knee injury.

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

"I found out last Thursday", Warburton said. "I was in a supermarket vehicle park and didn't believe him at first".

Reflecting on the appointment, Gatland said: "Sam is a great player, an outstanding leader and a winning Lions captain".

Gatland, a former All Blacks hooker, has preferred Rory Best, who captained Ireland to an historic first win over the All Blacks last November, Wales' Ken Owens and Hartley's England understudy Jamie George as his three specialist hookers.

The squad consists of 22 forwards and 19 backs, with Maro Itoje the youngest player at the age of 22.

Scrum half Conor Murray and fellow back row man Peter O'Mahony will join Stander from Munster on the 10 match tour, while Owen Farrell, Mako and Billy Vunipola, Jamie George, George Kruis and Maro Itoje make up the Saracens contingent.

"Throughout the whole squad there are going to be top quality players who missed out on selection because talent is that great now".

There are 12 Welsh players included but only two from Scotland, who defeated both Ireland and Wales in this year's Six Nations championship.

Scotland won three games in the Six Nations and finished third, its best performance in the northern hemisphere tournament since 2006, but only fullback Stuart Hogg and winger Tommy Seymour were called up by the Lions.

McCall said: "We're honoured to have six of our players included in the squad. It's an incredible traditional team and we want everyone to be supportive and behind the team".

"We had a dinner [on Tuesday] with all the ex-captains from the previous Lions tours".

The last time the Lions tour New Zealand was in 2005 when Clive Woodward's side lost all three Tests against the All Blacks.

Although Biggar is eager to stake his claim for a starting place in the Lions' team for the first Test against New Zealand in June, he is also looking forward to sampling the famed camaraderie of the touring party.

While Henshaw will naturally face very stiff competition for a place on the Test starting team, his versatility - he can be play in the either of the centre positions or at full-back - should count in his favour.



© 2015 Leader Call. All Rights reserved.