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Clive Woodward offers advice to struggling Dylan Hartley

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When England head coach Eddie Jones appointed Dylan Hartley as captain it was a controversial selection.

The hooker's well documented poor disciplinary record led to him missing the Lions tour in 2013 and the 2015 World Cup.

Although it was a shock appointment, England's record with Hartley as captain currently stands at 22 victories in 23 tests.

Despite such a good record, Jones has continually had to defend his appointment now with Hartley's club Northampton struggling and the Six Nations just around the corner, former England coach Clive Woodward has had his say.

In his column for the Daily Mail, Woodward suggested that when selecting a captain, the player should be an automatic first choice who will play every minute and could get into any team in the world.

"The reality at club level is that Hartley has been a shadow of himself as a player and skipper for Northampton," Woodward wrote.

"He is caught in a tough environment and cannot be expected to lift an entire club on his own so it is little wonder that his form has dropped.

"I bet he could not wait to get into England camp but you can't always assume you will be able to get up for a Test when it comes along.

Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby - Aviva Premiership

"This is why point No 1 is so important. I want my captain to be the unequivocal first choice in his position and ideally on the pitch in the last 10 minutes.

"This hasn't been the case with Hartley for club or country. My advice to Hartley would be to start stamping your feet and insisting you finish the majority of games. I cannot imagine any of rugby's great leaders, past or present, sitting on the bench when the game reaches its climax.

England Media Access

"Eddie and Hartley have been a great combo so far, but I'd like to see him now play for 80 minutes, starting with the Italy game."

While England are winning, Jones can continue to point to his record but if they were to falter will he consider handing over the leadership role to potential captain in waiting, Owen Farrell?

England's Six Nations campaign starts February 4 with a trip to Italy.

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Topics:
England Rugby
Aviva Premiership
Dylan Hartley
Northampton Saints
Rugby Union
Six Nations

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