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.”

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific