With the Lions tour now just nine months away, former tour hero Jeremy Guscott has suggested that potential tourist Dylan Hartley is an England certainty.
The man whose famous drop goal secured a series victory for the Lions in South Africa 11 years ago believes the young Northampton hooker should be given the No2 shirt for England’s autumn internationals.
"For me, he’s a shoo-in at hooker for England,” said Guscott, who won 65 caps for his country and made 22 appearances for the Lions.
"Hartley made a massive impact for Northampton against Worcester.”
The New Zealand-born 22-year-old may have only been used as a replacement by Jim Mallinder in the first Guinness Premiership match of the season but Guscott feels Hartley showed more than enough to push his claims for international selection.
“He may have only come on for the last 31 minutes against Worcester on Sunday, but he showed more enthusiasm and passion than some players manage in a season.
"His try showed us what he’s all about. He smashed through one defender, and then bounced off another one to score a magnificent try."
None of the four hookers who toured New Zealand with the Lions in 2005 (Gordon Bulloch, Shane Byrne, Andy Titterrell and Steve Thompson) are currently involved with their international XVs.