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.”

News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence