England bad boy Dylan Hartley will be on best behaviour against Wales on Saturday, according to former Guinness Pro12 referee James Jones.
Hartley has just returned from a six-week ban and Wales have a history of trying to wind-up the explosive England captain.
But Jones believes the prospect of losing out on a Lions tour for the second time because of a short fuse, will curb Hartley’s edge.
The Northampton hooker was banned earlier this season for a late hit on Leinster’s Sean’O’Brien for which he was sent off.
Hartley also missed the 2013 Lions tour to Australia after he was found guilty of swearing at referee Wayne Barnes and calling him a cheat.
But Jones says: “Dylan Hartley is fully aware that had that (Hartley’s December suspension) happened in the Six Nations then it may have cost him a Lions tour.
“So I think these players now, if anything, are better behaved because they want to set examples. They don’t want to pick up suspensions for silly things that could cost them the pinnacle of their career.
“I remember Alan Quinlan was selected for the Lions and he did something silly and couldn’t go, so players are now fully aware that discipline in the Six Nations is vital and also coaches will bear that in mind.
“So, Warren Gatland will look at these players and if they are giving away cheap penalties during the Six Nations, it lessens their chances of being picked as potentially they could be a liability. And in Test match rugby now, giving away penalties can cost you a game because these goal-kickers can now kick from fantastic distances.”
Lion coach Gatland famously tried to rattle Hartley before the Wales v England match six years ago, when he claimed Hartley would choke during the match.
It was a barb thrown in retaliation after Gatland had been angered by Hartley’s evidence to a disciplinary tribunal that found former Wales scrum-half Richie Rees banned for eye-gouging.
The provocation backfired, though, as Hartley and England won in Cardiff that year, 26-19, with Hartley keeping his cool throughout.
The England captain has also said that he has learned his lesson from a total of 60 weeks spent suspended from playing during his career.
He said last week: “That walk off the field is never a quick moment. It seems to drag on for quite a while, but obviously gives you time to reflect and I understand I could have jeopardised a lot.
“I put myself and the team in a difficult position and since then I’ve had clear directives from the management of what they expect and here I am.”