Home Rugby Warren Gatland Name Checks Four Players Who Have Caught His Eye Ahead Of Six Nations

Warren Gatland Name Checks Four Players Who Have Caught His Eye Ahead Of Six Nations

MAYNOOTH, IRELAND - DECEMBER 07: Warren Gatland, the Lions head coach, faces the media during the 2017 British & Irish Lions Coaching Team Announcement held at Carton House Hotel on December 7, 2016 in Maynooth, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

As if the Six Nations didn’t include enough sub-plots, the spectre of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand and all the accompanying speculation over selection will play an ever more dominating role as the Championship edges toward a conclusion.

Players who might now be considered as shoo-ins, could fall out of contention due to injury or a sudden collapse in form.

Take Dylan Hartley for example, last November he was considered to be the leading contender to captain the Lions. However after being sent off for striking Sean O’Brien questions began to be asked over his potential participation.

Likewise, Despite being the incumbent Lions captain, Sam Warburton could miss out on selection altogether if Justin Tipuric starts ahead of the Cardiff Blues player for Wales in the Six Nations.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 18: Sam Warburton of Wales shows his disappointment after the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Wales at Westpac Stadium on June 18, 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)

There also exists the possibility of unheralded players or “bolters” demonstrating such form that they demand inclusion in Warren Gatland’s squad despite their relative inexperience.

In the meantime, all we can do is stand on the start line debating possible selections and combinations.

However, in an interview with The Telegraph’s Mick Cleary, Gatland gave an indication into what he was thinking, by name checking Robbie Henshaw, Gary Ringrose, Maro Itoje and Stuart Hogg as players who have already impressed.

While he wouldn’t be drawn on the captaincy, Gatland did however say that Hartley “has to contend with pressure, too, that of Jamie George pushing for his place.

As for Sam [Warburton], he’s got to get selected for Wales first and foremost. The captain has to be sure of his place. If he is not, then we will ruthless on tour and drop him”.

Read what you like between the lines…

Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena

On this week’s edition of the Oval Office, we discuss Ireland’s selection policy for overseas players, the England captaincy and more…

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