Dylan Hartley describes possible Lions selection as "the ultimate privilege"

The squad will be announced next week

Dylan Hartley describes possible Lions selection as "the ultimate privilege"

England's Dylan Hartley. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

England captain Dylan Hartley has described the possibility of being selected for the Lions squad as "the ultimate privilege for any players from the British Isles."

Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: "To go would be one hell of an experience I am sure, from what I have heard from previous tours. For the guys that do make the tour it will be the trip of a lifetime.

“I am not counting my chickens and I am not getting my hopes up because in a week’s time it could all be taken away. It is one of those things. It is around the corner, you know it is around the corner. It is not something I am overly thinking about or worrying about. I am just thinking about week to week," he added.

Hartley was picked in the original squad for the 2013 tour to Australia before being dropped after verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes during an English Premiership match in the weeks leading up to the tour. He was banned for 11 weeks and Rory Best took his place on the plane down under. 

The Lions went on to win the series 2-1 to secure their first series triumph since the successful 1997 tour to South Africa. 

Lions coach Warren Gatland is due to name his touring squad next week in what is one of the most anticipated tours in recent memory when the best of Ireland and the UK will take on the back-to-back world champions New Zealand.