This afternoon Eddie Jones announced the appointment of Dylan Hartley as captain of the England rugby team for the upcoming Six Nations Championship.
Hartley, 29, is a controversial choice, but nonetheless will add flair to the English side after a disappointing World Cup. The hooker was not selected by Stuart Lancaster for the ill-fated campaign, but comes back into the squad under the new Australian coach.
Pundit Arena exclusively interviewed 2003 World Cup winner Ben Kay to discuss the appointment.
“I think one of the things that came out of the World Cup is that England didn’t have a lot of natural leaders in the late 20s age bracket.
“Most of the leaders [last Autumn] were young inexperienced guys who didn’t have much international experience.
“You look at what Hartley has done at Northampton, winning a title and being in that European final, he certainly does seem to bring the best out of people around him.”
However, Kay went on to make a bold claim that he believes this is a short term fix, and Hartley is not a shoo-in for the captaincy for the entire World Cup cycle.
“With Hartley as captain, it will be a little bit of an interim appointment, and they’ll wait to see which of the younger guys put their hand up.
“I think there’s a perception that England have gone a bit soft, and Eddie Jones wants [to build] a brand that England are going back to their own uncompromising ways, and Dylan’s the man to lead that.
“He’s had his disciplinary issues, but for me, I have no problem with the call.
“I don’t think it’s as big a call as people are making it out to be.”
Interesting thoughts indeed from the former England second row.
However, many fans were not as enthusiastic as Kay about the prospect of Dylan Hartley taking over as captain, and reacted in horror on Twitter.
Ben Kay was speaking on behalf of BMW, proud partners of England Rugby and drivers of the BMW Sweet Chariots at the 2016 RBS 6 Nations.