Warren Gatland will leave Dylan Hartley out of his Lions squad
Barring a last-minute change of heart from coach Warren Gatland, the England captain, who was suspended for the 2013 tour to Australia, will miss out again – this time on selection grounds.
Ireland’s Rory Best, Wales’s Ken Owens and Hartley’s England understudy Jamie George are understood to have been preferred as hookers.
It will be a tough pill to swallow for the 31-year-old whose leadership has propelled England to successive Six Nations titles.
Dylan Hartley will miss out this time on selection grounds
However George’s extra dynamism – displayed off the bench for England – is viewed as more valuable to a Lions squad which will be led again by Sam Warburton.
Warburton, who handed over the Wales captaincy to Alun Wyn Jones this season, is sidelined with a knee injury for the remainder of the domestic season but will be fit in time for the squad’s departure on May 28.
There will also be disappointment for other big England names with their player of the Six Nations Joe Launchbury set to be excluded along with Jonathan Joseph, George Ford and James Haskell.
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But Eddie Jones’s side will still make up the bulk of the squad with Gatland set to take four England props including Kyle Sinckler who has yet to start a Test and Worcester centre Ben Te’o.
Scotland look likely to have just two players on the plane ≠ Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour.
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