Jeremy Guscott Q&A: Lions, Dylan Hartley and Leinster

 

Among the topics making the headlines this week are:

- Leicester winning a 10th English title with victory against Northampton

- Dylan Hartley's red card and Lions tour absence

- Rob Webber captaining England against the Barbarians

- Any other Lions business

Jerry answers questions posted on the website at the start of every week - entries are now closed for this Q&A. This week's answers appear below.

jollyeric: Hi Jerry, given the latest in a long line of bans for Dylan Hartley, should he be dropped by England permanently? The man seems immune to learning from his mistakes and his behaviour could really cost England in the future.

Hi, If Hartley did verbally abuse the referee then he deserved to be sent off, particularly as I believe he warned him about it earlier. Hartley's behaviour certainly doesn't fit the type of profile England head coach Stuart Lancaster would like his players to uphold, one as role models. It's ultimately Lancaster's decision to select him. They certainly hold Hartley in high regard - forwards coach Graham Rowntree always speaks highly of him. I would still pick him if he plays well enough.

HertzVanRental: Jeremy, again Mathew Tait put in a very solid performance for Leicester against Northampton. But he has been overlooked for the England tour, even after Alex Goode is out. Do you think Lancaster is right to leave him out? I think he has been one of the best performing full-backs over the last three months.

Leicester Tigers

Leicester Tigers celebrate their Premiership final victory over Northampton Saints at Twickenham

Hi, Tait has found good form and is very unlucky not to make the tour but Goode, Mike Brown and Ben Foden have had equally good seasons and deserve to go ahead of him.

SUFTUM: Jerry, what's your opinion on the play-off system in rugby? In all three of the northern hemisphere leagues the team who finished first in the regular season failed to win the play-offs. As an Ulster fan, I feel robbed after Saturday's final and speaking to the Leinster fans after the game they said they felt the same way in 2010 and 2012. It doesn't seem fair that the most consistent team misses out.

Hi, I've got used to the play-off system, its a good way of making it fair for teams that are weakened through losing players to international commitments. The system doesn't reward the most consistent team as football's Premier League does, but they don't lose their top players during the season to internationals played at the same time as league matches.

Leinster

Leinster celebrate their Pro12 final victory over Ulster

Impala66: Hi Jerry, do you think Manu Tuilagi has the defensive discipline to start for the Lions? Although he had a good game in Saturday's Premiership final, the way he rushed out of the defensive line leaving Northampton with an overlap they exploited to score, was a bit concerning.

Hi, Manu is still learning his trade and so far so good in my view. I wouldn't be overly concerned about his defence. He's doing well, and even the best defensive players have the odd blip. It's going to be hard for him to make the Test team but his attacking strengths give him a good base from which to get that starting spot.

Archie Owen: Hi Jerry, what is your opinion on Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill's antics on the touchline in Saturday's final? In my eyes Courtney Lawes' hit on Toby Flood was slightly late but he was committed to the tackle, particularly as Flood was running with the ball and had not simply shipped it straight on down the line. Should he be allowed to remonstrate with the officials like that?

Hi, I don't think Cockerill went over the top in making his thoughts known. It was reactionary and seemed reasonably OK. I agree with you in that I didn't think the tackle by Lawes was late.