Warren Gatland: 'No Dylan Hartley issue'

Dylan Hartley
© PA Photos
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland insists that he is now on good terms with England hooker Dylan Hartley.

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has insisted that he does not have an issue with England hooker Dylan Hartley.

The pair clashed in 2011 when Gatland publically questioned Hartley's temperament, but the Lions boss has claimed that there is no animosity after selecting the 27-year-old in his 37-man squad.

"I've got a lot of respect and time for Dylan, despite what people might think. I don't want to raise the issue, but I made the comments that I made because of the way in which Dylan was advised to speak about how a player was suspended and that upset me," Gatland told Sky Sports News.

"The reaction didn't really fit for me - a tough front row forward and a Kiwi boy brought up in Rotorua. If someone grabs you by the eye and you don't have a reaction, yet it's so painful afterwards.

"I said the things I did. Afterwards I went up to him, shook his hand and told him I was a little bit over the top in what I said. He respected that. His form has been good recently, but Rory Best was really unlucky."

The tour gets underway on June 1.

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