Rugby Union


Eddie Jones sets tone for his tenure with Dylan Hartley appointment

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Perhaps Dylan Hartley's appointment as captain for England's Six Nations campaign shouldn't come as such a surprise.

New England coach Eddie Jones had very few choices for the position, with the captain of England's car crash World Cup on home soil Chris Robshaw seemingly out of the picture.

Hartley became the youngest man to captain a Premiership side in 2011 as he took over the reigns at Northampton Saints as a promising 23-year-old and made his England debut in 2008 after a handful of appearances for England Saxons beforehand.


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His indiscipline has been a problem throughout his career and he was dropped for the 2015 World Cup, after being handed a four-week ban -making up a total ban count of 54 weeks in his professional career.

With offences ranging from eye gouging to abusing referees, Hartley has made a name for himself.

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He has amassed 66 caps in his international career and, when he is available, many see him as the first choice hooker for England.

Ex-England coach Stuart Lancaster refused to pick Hartley for the World Cup due to his most recent misdemeanour, saying: "Dylan has let his teammates down".

And for many that was seen as the correct decision; Hartley had committed yet another offence and in his well-respected position as a professional sportsman he had failed to fulfil his duty as a role model. If he had been picked we would be condoning this sort of behaviour and sending the wrong message to players and fans alike.

England Media Access

However this is another huge statement by coach Eddie Jones who has already left some big names out of his Six Nations squad, including Sale's Danny Cipriani and Hartley's Northampton teammate Tom Wood.

This open backing of Hartley seems to indicate he is starting with a clean slate under Jones, but also gives an indication of how Jones wants his new-look side to play. The hooker's game is all about aggression and power, perhaps going too far sometimes - something much-needed after England were criticised under the previous management for shying away from the challenge of playing in a home World Cup.

Although this appointment may not please every fan of English rugby, it shows the harsh and uncompromising nature Jones wants to instill in his men.

RBS Six Nations Launch

The Six Nations seem to be of some insignificance after the grandeur of the World Cup, one that the UK hosted magnificently, but for England it's already the start of the rebuilding process, hopefully culminating in winning the next World Cup.

Jones has a little more to prove to the England fans but the appointment of Hartley shows he's not here to make friends.

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