Saracens hooker Jamie George has been enjoying an impressive season with the English Premiership side this term and has become a real threat to Dylan Hartley for the starting spot in Eddie Jones’ Six Nations side next month.
The 26-year-old has been in competition with South Africa hooker Schalk Brits for the No. 2 jersey for Saracens and has steadily become the first choice for the position and is now being spoken of as a viable replacement for the controversial Hartley.
Having recently been handed yet another suspension for his swinging arm tackle on Leinster’s Sean O’Brien in the Champions Cup, Hartley has now amassed suspensions to the tune of 60 weeks, leading some rugby pundits and fans to question whether he is a deserving of the Red Rose captaincy.
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George, who knows all too well of Hartley’s indiscretions, having been on the receiving end of a headbutt from the Northampton Saints hooker in 2015, has now spoken of the fiery captain and has become something of an unlikely supporter of the 30-year-old.
Speaking to The Guardian, George calls Hartley a’ good captain’,
“We have a very good working relationship and get on really well. Dylan will ask my opinion on how sessions have gone. I think he respects my opinion. I’ve got a bit of leadership under my belt and one of my strengths is my knowledge of the game.
“He just wants to talk to me about it. But he talks to a lot of people because that’s what good captains do. And Dylan is a good captain.”
While it might well be the case that Hartley is indeed a good captain, it is still a fact that he has an issue with self-control at times, something that might well come back to bite him as George continues to improve on the field.
With British and Irish Lions selection the reward for a good Six Nations campaign, Hartley might well face stiff competition from his compatriot for one of the few places available on Warren Gatland’s squad sheet.
Is a changing of the guard at hooker about to happen for England?
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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