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Eddie Jones Retains Dylan Hartley As England Captain – But Only On One Condition

England head coach has named his squad for the impending Six Nations championships and has chosen to keep the faith with Dylan Hartley as his captain.

Following Hartley’s latest suspension, a six week stint in the bold corner for a swinging arm challenge on Leinster’s Sean O’Brien during the Champions Cup clash in December, there was very real chance the 30-year-old could have been stripped of his captaincy.

This morning however, Jones has stuck by the man who helped guide England to Grand Slam glory last year but has done so with a caveat for the Saints hooker.

France v England - RBS Six Nations

Speaking to the press following the announcement of his 34-man squad, Jones cut to the chase on his choice to retain Hartley.

He’s about 7/10 in terms of readiness to play.

“I’ll have a look at him on Monday or Tuesday. The captaincy like the jersey is not a permanent position. We are not a club team. Here you have to add to the jersey. All Dylan has to do is be concerned with adding to the position of England captain. All he has to do is play well and captain well. If he does that he will continue to be England captain.”

Check out Jones’ full comments on Hartley below from the six minute mark.

The hooker will be eligible to return to action on January 23rd and will be in a race against time to prove his match fitness ahead of England’s massive championship opener against France at Twickenham on February 4th.

In sticking with the often ill-disciplined Northampton man, the England boss has made it clear that the captaincy is wholly dependent on performance. He has therefore put it all back on Hartley to show he has shaken off the red mist and can lead the Red Rose like he did so emphatically last year.

Should he fail, it is clear that Jones will not have second thoughts in stripping not only the armband, but perhaps even the jersey, from the controversial hooker.

It seems therefore it is now last chance saloon for Hartley. He must now show the character of a captain if he wishes to survive.

Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena

In this week’s edition of The Oval Office Podcast, we speak to the Pro12 Communications Director Adam Redmond, who outlines how the league will evolve in the coming seasons.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.