Dylan Hartley's prospect of leading British and Irish Lions diminishing - Gavin Hastings

Dylan Hartley has slipped behind Alun Wyn Jones in the race to lead the Lions says Gavin Hastings
Dylan Hartley has slipped behind Alun Wyn Jones in the race to lead the Lions says Gavin Hastings

Former Scotland international Gavin Hastings believes that the chances of England captain Dylan Hartley leading the British and Irish Lions in the upcoming tour of New Zealand is diminishing.

Under Hartley, England have stretched their winning streak to 16 games but was replaced in the 47th minute during the match against Wales with head coach Eddie Jones citing fatigue as the reason behind the decision. Also his recent six-week ban while playing for Northampton Saints hasn't helped his cause either.

Hastings, who was the captain of the Lions squad that toured New Zealand in 1993 believes newly appointed Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones is better suited for the role than Hartley.

"I think Jones is out on his own. Dylan Hartley's gone backwards a wee bit.

"I think Jones is showing his characteristics as a leader of men.

"He's a guy that's been around the block more than once. No-one else (is in the frame)."

Meanwhile, Brian O'Driscoll, who led the Lions squad in the 2005 tour also came in support of Wales skipper Jones and believes his likelihood to be included in the start makes it even more favourable for him to captain Warren Gatland's team.

"The front-runner has to be Alun Wyn Jones, he captained the Lions in the final game in 2013, he's respected in New Zealand and you have to anticipate he's going to be a Test starter. He certainly would be on my team.

"Alun Wyn is probably the front-runner at the moment but there's lots to happen between now and the announcement of the squad."

Martin Johnson, who also led Lions apart from O'Driscoll and Hastings reckons Jones has the momentum with him than Hartley.

"All four nations' captains have a chance, though Greig is out of the tournament which is unfortunate," Johnson told BBC Wales Sport.

"You've got two hookers, but I thought Jones played really well so maybe he'll have his nose slightly in front.

"He's an experienced player, been out there before, playing pretty well."