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British and Irish Lions squad announcement: Dylan Hartley set to miss out but Roberts in line to make cut

Hartley was named in the original Lions squad in 2013 but missed the tour after being handed an 11-week ban
British and Irish Lions 2017
Follow squad announcement live on BBC Sport website at midday, Wednesday 19 April.
Listen to a Lions squad announcement special on BBC Radio 5 live and online from 19:00 BST on Wednesday

England captain Dylan Hartley is set to miss out on selection for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

Despite leading England to back-to-back Six Nations titles, Hartley is expected to be overlooked for one of the three hooker spots.

Wales’ Sam Warburton is set to be confirmed as captain of the Lions for the second time, while centre Jamie Roberts is set to be a shock inclusion.

Lions coach Warren Gatland will confirm his squad at 12:00 BST on Wednesday.

Gatland and his coaches met for a final selection meeting on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s announcement and about 40 players are now expected to be named.

If his omission is confirmed, Hartley will become the third England captain in succession to miss out on Lions selection, after Steve Borthwick in 2009 and Chris Robshaw in 2013.

The 31-year-old was picked for the tour of Australia four years ago, but was suspended before the series after swearing at an official.

Hartley’s compatriot Jamie George, Ireland’s Rory Best, and Wales’ Ken Owens are expected to fill the three hooker berths.

Despite finishing fifth in the Six Nations, it is understood more than 10 Welshmen will make the squad, with hard-running centre Roberts, 30, a surprise late addition having started on the bench for Wales in all five matches in this year’s Six Nations.

However, Scotland’s representation is likely to be limited to full-back Stuart Hogg, and one of Tommy Seymour or Sean Maitland on the wing.

Northampton hooker Hartley, 31, whose chances were rated at 50-50 yesterday, would become the latest in a list of shock English exclusions.

Fellow Six Nations winners Joe Launchbury, James Haskell, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Mike Brown are also in danger of missing out.

Lions tour to New Zealand – fixtures
June 3 – Provincial Union Team, Whangarei
June 7 – Blues, Auckland
June 10 – Crusaders, Christchurch
June 13 – Highlanders, Dunedin
June 17 – Maori All Blacks, Rotorua
June 20 – Chiefs, Hamilton
June 24 – All Blacks, Auckland
June 27 – Hurricanes, Wellington
July 1 – All Blacks, Wellington
July 8 – All Blacks, Auckland

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