No rift with Dylan Hartley, insists British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland
Lions head coach Warren Gatland insists there is no animosity with England hooker Dylan Hartley.
Last Updated: 01/05/13 10:55am
Hartley was a surprise addition to the 37-man Tour squad announced on Tuesday, securing a place ahead of Rory Best who was expected to be included.
Gatland publicly questioned Hartley's temperament in 2011, after Wales scrum-half Richie Rees was banned for 12 weeks for gouging the Northampton front row, but the head coach has insisted the spat is firmly in the past.
"I've got a lot of respect and time for Dylan, despite what people might think," he said.
"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.
"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."
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