Dylan Hartley has always been a divisive figure among rugby fans. Those who criticise the England captain label him as a hot head and a liability, while those who rush to Hartley’s defence point to his leadership and all round quality.
Brian O’Driscoll evidently falls into the former category, after questioning Dylan Hartley’s suitability to captain the Lions this summer. In an interview published in the Evening Standard, the former Ireland captain didn’t think players from the other home nations would buy into a British and Irish Lions set-up led by Hartley.
I don’t see him as captain. Not just because of what happened earlier in the season [when he was sent off for Northampton and banned for six weeks], I don’t think you would have the same buy-in from the other three countries as you would have from all the English boys.
Although O’Driscoll went on to clarify his comments arguing that The Lions captain needed to have a guaranteed place in the starting XV, some will no doubt take umbrage at his tone.
In the end, the 2005 Lions captain threw his support behind Alun Wyn Jones based on his likelihood of being selected in the second row.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena