Former Lions and Scotland captain Gavin Hastings has told England they are lucky to have a set of brothers amongst their team to play Italy this weekend.
The 47-year-old HSBC ambassador played alongside his younger brother Scott for both Scotland and Lions and admits that, putting sentiment aside, there is a bond between brothers that can only help England on Saturday.
"As brothers you have always played rugby together," explained Hastings, who skippered the Lions on their 1993 tour to New Zealand.
"Delon and Steffan Armitage have literally spent years playing alongside each other and will have a telepathic understanding of each other.
"When Scott and I were playing for Scotland all it would take was a look from him and I would instantly know what he was either going to do or wanted me to do."
Gavin played alongside Scott on his first Lions Tour to Australia in 1989, scoring the decisive try to win the second test, thanks to a pass from Scott.
"There is obviously a great history of sets of brothers playing in the same international team together over the years, and England should regard themselves as lucky to have the latest band of brothers within their squad.
"I am looking forward to seeing the Armitage’s play on Saturday. They can both be very exciting players and seem to represent a new breed of talent that is coming through for England.
"I wish both of them all the very best in their careers, and hope that they really enjoy Saturday. It is a very special honour to not only represent your country but to line up alongside your brother."
Brothers Gavin and Scott Hastings were Scotland and Lions colleagues
Despite being captain of both Scotland and the Lions, Gavin was grateful that the responsibility of team selection didn’t fall to him.
"I think Mother Hastings would have had a few words to say if I was in charge of picking the team and hadn’t chosen Scott, although she has four boys and always dreamt of all four of us playing together for Scotland!" added Hastings.
"We get on pretty well and I absolutely loved playing alongside Scott. It was a very special time every time we represented our country, and the Lions, together.
"We both earned our first international cap together and then, eight years later, we both earned our 50th cap together. It’s quite amazing if you think about it that eight years later and we still reached that special milestone together in exactly the same fixture."
Looking ahead to the forthcoming RBS Six Nations, Hastings believes that Scotland have a real chance against Wales this weekend.
"Wales are the best team in the tournament but it is up to them to prove it. And it’s equally up to Scotland to try and knock them off their pedestal.
"I have watched a lot of Edinburgh and Glasgow matches this season and think both the coaches have done well to deliver players on good form to Scotland. I am quietly optimistic that Scotland could do reasonably well albeit against a very strong Welsh team."