Dylan Hartley is not made of teflon after all. The England captain retained that status despite yet another absurd moment of violence in the Champions Cup against Leinster. He earned a straight red for a forearm smash to Sean O'Brien's head, and as he marched off, Eddie Jones clasped his head with his hands. His suspension expired on the eve of the Six Nations, and he retained the English captaincy for the Six Nations. With that level of staying power, many believed that he might yet captain the Lions. This was strengthened by Gatland's words before the Six Nations
If Dylan Hartley leads England to another Grand Slam that could sway it. Dylan has done a great job with his leadership with England. The sending-off looked like frustration to me. But Dylan has to contend with pressure, too, that of Jamie George pushing for his place.
Now, it looks like not only will Hartley not captain the Lions against the country of his birth, he won't even make the squad. A number of outlets, including the Mail and the BBC, are reporting tonight that the England captain won't make the cut at the squad announcement later today.
They expect Jamie George, his English understudy, to make the plane alongside Ken Owens and Rory Best.
Hartley's ill-discipline cost him a trip to Australia four years ago, hit with an eleven-week ban for abusing Wayne Barnes in the Premiership final on the eve of the tour.
This time around, it is not poor discipline that has cost Hartley, but a string of bad performances. He played poorly in the Six Nations, and made way as an early substitute for Jamie George in every game. He also suffered the ignominy of asking Jerome Garces to explain what a ruck is as he and England froze before Italy's tactics at Twickenham.
Hartley will now instead captain an experimental England squad on a tour of Argentina.
As the Mail point out, this continues a remarkable run of the England captain not being picked by the Lions: Chris Robshaw (2013), Steve Borthwick (2009) and Phil de Glanville (1997) all did not make the cut, with Martin Johnson the exception.
Hartley will be a number of front-line England to miss the cut, including Joe Launchbury, Jonathan Joseph and George Ford.