Gavin Hastings: 'Jonny Wilkinson will have a role to play in the squad'

Former British and Irish Lions captain believes that Wilkinson will feature during the tour at some point

Former Lions captain Gavin Hastings believes Jonny Wilkinson will join up with squad during their Australian tour no matter how much Warren Gatlandsays otherwise.

The fly-half ruled himself out of the Lions selection process, instead deciding to focus on the upcoming Heineken Cup final with his current club, Toulon. And, despite Wilkinson’s man-of-the-match display that saw him kick the French club to European Cup success, Gatland was quick to stand by the decision to omit the Englishman from the Lions squad.

However, Wilkinson has since admitted his is ready and willing to join the touring team should an injury crisis occur, and Hastings believes it’s only a matter of time before the 33-year-old is on a plane heading toward the southern hemisphere.

Speaking at the UK launch of sports book Unibet, Hastings said: “I still think Wilkinson will have a role to play in the Lions squad. The longer the tour goes on, the more chance he has of being on the tour.

“He is the type of player that can come out, two days before the first test and, being the person that he is, still come on and turn the game around, score the winning drop-goal and win the test.

“He hasn’t enjoyed his best games in a Lions shirt, sometimes it doesn’t come round for you. He’s been a magnificent player in the last three games in Toulon’s run in the European Cup, so it’ll be very interesting to see what happens.

“I genuinely believe he’ll be out there and have a role to play. I’ve spoken to a lot of people and I think we all believe that Jonny will, at some stage, go out on tour.”

Wilkinson wasn’t the only surprise exclusion from the British and Irish squad, with England captain Chris Robshaw also being exiled from a squad consisting of 15 Welshmen, 10 Englishmen, nine Irishmen and just three Scots.

Hastings, however, was quick to defend Gatland’s squad selection, including the decision to appoint Welsh youngster Sam Warburton as captain.

“The coaches and management have thought long and hard and have chosen the squad they believe can deliver results for them.

“At the end of the day, the Lions just need to win two matches out of three and if they do that, they will create history and obviously, we all want that to happen. The end will justify the means.

“We can all comment on the squad but these guys believe they are picking the best squad to give them the best chance to win that series and time will tell if they’re correct.

“It’s absolutely right that Warburton is captain. I think he’s a terrific player, he’s a great ambassador for the game, hugely talented and he leads by example.

"And Warren Gatland, most importantly of all, knows him very, very well and knows what he’s capable of. I think it’s a great choice and there’s absolutely no doubt he’ll do a great job.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker