Steve Hansen: Dylan Hartley would have been "an asset" to Lions

The New Zealand head coach has given his view on the 41-man squad

Steve Hansen: Dylan Hartley would have been "an asset" to Lions

Head coach Steve Hansen Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Dylan Hartley was one of the most high-profile omissions from Wednesday's Lions squad announcement.

The England captain failed to earn one of the three hooker's slots on the plane to New Zealand. His international teammate Jamie George made the cut, despite starting every Six Nations match from the bench.

It is the second tour in a row where Hartley will miss out on Lions honours. In 2013, the Northampton hooker was picked in the original squad, before a red card in the Premiership Final that May ruled him out through suspension.

Hartley will now travel with England to Argentina for a two-test tour in June. He was named as captain by Eddie Jones when the squad was announced on Thursday morning.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has reacted to the 41-man squad ahead of the series in New Zealand. He felt Hartley was unlucky not to be named in the squad.

"There are always going to be surprises, with some people being selected and some people not being selected," he told the Press Association. "The guy that has the last say is the guy that is usually coaching them. I think Hartley would have been an asset but I’m not picking the team."

Hansen said the squad travelling for the ten-match series, that will include games against each of New Zealand's Super Rugby teams "is the best Lions team we’ve seen come here for a long, long time."

"There is depth all the way through. That’s why people like Hartley and some of the Scottish boys have missed out because there is so much depth."

The team travel to New Zealand in late May, before their opening match against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians on June 3rd in Whangarei.