New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has responded to Dylan Hartley's omission from the British and Irish Lions touring party by suggesting the England captain would have been "an asset" to Warren Gatland's side.
Hooker Hartley was one of the more notable omissions from the Lions squad announced on Wednesday and will instead lead England on their tour of Argentina in June.
Hansen hinted that he would have picked Hartley had he been in Gatland's position, but also acknowledged the strength in depth at his fellow New Zealander's disposal.
"The guy who has the last say is usually the guy that is coaching them," Hansen is quoted as saying by Stuff. "I think [Hartley] would have been an asset but I'm not picking the team.
"I think this is the best British and Irish Lions that we've seen come here for a long, long time.
"There is depth all the way through, that's why people like Hartley and some of the Scottish boys have missed out because there's so much depth.
"You've only got to look at the five-eighths. A guy like Finn Russell's been playing extremely well and can't even make the team because they've got [Jonathan] Sexton, [Owen] Farrell and [Dan] Biggar there. You've also got young [George] Ford missing out."
The world champion All Blacks are strong favourites to beat the Lions, yet Hansen claims Gatland's men will be under significant pressure to perform.
"It's going to be a very good side and they'll come with a lot of expectation, which I think is going to be interesting to see how they cope with that," he added.
"[There is] a lot more expectation than they've been used to because people expect them to win."
18. Dezember 2017
|Dortmund frustrated by Aubameyang punctuality - Zorc|
|Hegazi secures permanent West Brom deal|
|We´ll see how he pulls up - Smith unsure Starc will play in Melbourne|
|Diddy wants to buy Carolina Panthers and sign Kaepernick|
|Police investigating ´hate crime´ amid reports of Sterling attack|
|Halstenberg suffers broken hand in scoring for Leipzig|
|Van Gaal eyes one more job ´to spite Manchester United´|
|The Ashes Round-up: Perth pummelling sees Australia reclaim the urn|
|Valverde fumes over ´absurd´ lack of VAR in LaLiga|
|We´ve not played well for long enough, says beaten Bayliss|
|´Proud´ Smith hails Australia selectors after regaining Ashes|
|England ´outplayed´ by Australia as Root loses grip on the urn|
|Conte rails against Chelsea exit rumours|
|Dominant Australia regain the Ashes|
|Arnold backed for Socceroos job as Ryan pays tribute to Postecoglou|
|Jaguars end NFL playoff drought, Packers in danger|
|LeBron logs third straight triple-double as Cavaliers keep rolling|
|I´m happy playing for Lazio, says Man United target Milinkovic-Savic|
|Klopp dislikes ´Fab Four´ nickname|
|Wet pitch, rain delay final day in Perth|
|Ronaldo a legend, one of best ever – Ramos|
|Richardson to put Panthers up for sale at season´s end|
|Starc set to bowl despite bruised heel|
|Steelers star Brown suffers calf injury|
|Patriots edge Steelers in thriller|
|Kaka Retires: The last member of Brazil´s 2002 World Cup-winning team|
|Barcelona won´t give Real Madrid a guard of honour – Amor|
|Valverde adamant Clasico won´t decide LaLiga|
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|There are other challengers - Suarez tempers Clasico fever|
17. Dezember 2017
|Adverse drugs test has put Froome in ´horrible situation´|
|Pre-season win over Spurs key to City´s season, Guardiola claims|
|Juventus still monitoring Liverpool´s Can - Marotta|
|Griezmann apologises for ´awkward´ fancy dress|
|Barcelona lose Alcacer for El Clasico|
|Barcelona 4 Deportivo La Coruna 0: Suarez, Paulinho at the double in Clasico warm-up|
|Griezmann attracts criticism for ´racist´ fancy dress|
|Spedding extends Sarries losing streak, Wasps halt La Rochelle|
|Klopp calls for Liverpool consistency after Bournemouth battering|
|Coutinho won´t be drawn on Liverpool future|
|Kaka Retires: Ballon d´Or, Milan glory and Brazil brilliance among career highlights|
|Liverpool make top-flight history in Bournemouth victory|
|We can´t think we´re unbeatable - Jesus|
|Lukaku´s love for West Brom behind muted celebration - Mourinho|
|Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 4: Coutinho sparkles as Reds return to winning ways|
|Pool-topping Blues gain Sale revenge|
|Kaka Retires: Former clubs and team-mates pay tribute|
|Dybala needs to be in better physical shape - Allegri|
|Hearts break spell but Celtic join Milan, Porto among unbeaten elite|
|Juventus allowed Bologna nothing - Pjanic|
|Mourinho: United lost ambition in second-half slump|
|Lingard claiming second goal in Manchester United win|
|Rohit relishing overseas challenges after Sri Lanka ODI series win|
|Kaka eyes future in the boardroom after resisting Milan swansong|
|West Brom 1 Manchester United 2: Lukaku on target against old club|
|Former AC Milan and Brazil star Kaka announces retirement|
|Bologna 0 Juventus 3: Pjanic, Mandzukic and Matuidi send champions second|
|Feyenoord hit seven against Sparta Rotterdam|
|Dhawan hundred seals series win after Sri Lanka collapse|
|Gattuso slams ´embarrassing´ Milan after Verona defeat|
|Celtic´s 69-match unbeaten run ends with Hearts thrashing|
|Fekir keen on Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico, Manchester City... and Arsenal|
|Julian Savea not ruling out rugby league switch|
|Mbappe pips Martial to Telefoot Trophy|
|Verona 3 AC Milan 0: Gattuso´s side slip to insipid defeat|
|Man City´s celebrations? You should hear Burnley, says Rooney|
|Froome´s Vuelta test bad for cycling, says Bardet|
|Vince backs Cook and Root to overcome slump|
|Rooney wants greedy Rashford, has high hopes for Martial|
|Man City aren´t one of the Premier League´s best ever - Rooney|