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'He Gave Dylan Hartley A Bit Of A Lesson' - Warren Gatland Full Of Praise For Rory Best

'He Gave Dylan Hartley A Bit Of A Lesson' - Warren Gatland Full Of Praise For Rory Best
Gavin Cooney
By Gavin Cooney
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While the tour is a number of months away yet, this is very much Lions season. While the games are undoubtedly great, the most interesting aspect of a Lions tour are the endless debates about team selection. Every single performance by a player eligible for the tour is seen in the context of others by rivals: for example, Conor Murray is currently so far ahead in the battle for the No.9 jersey it is untrue. 

As recently as Friday afternoon, Dylan Hartley was seen as a favourite to grab a starting Test jersey, and was being heavily touted as a potential captain, too. His latest absurd act on a rugby field, however, calls his selection into great doubt, let alone the captaincy.

So if Hartley isn't going to be captain, who is? Alan Wyn Jones' name has been floated, but it would foolish to rule out Irish captain Rory Best, particularly considering these comments by Warren Gatland.


Gatland left Best out of the squad four years ago, but speaking to The Telegraph, admits that he's been impressed with the evolution of Best's leadership skills, and also his technical skills, comparing him favourably to one Dylan Hartley.

There is no doubt Rory Best has done a really good job. He looks comfortable. We didn’t take him initially in 2013 because we felt his line-out throwing was not good enough. He has obviously improved enormously.

He is scrummaging well, he is experienced. He has grown into that leadership role. There is a lot to admire about Rory Best. I go back to a couple of years ago when Ulster went over to Northampton and he gave Dylan Hartley a bit of a lesson in forward play and hooking that day. It was another level.

We are not renowned for agreeing with Warren Gatland, but we can't help feeling he has got this one spot on.


[The Telegraph]

See Also: Donncha O'Callaghan's Punditry Debut Was A Roaring Success


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