Hartley not guaranteed to lead England to Japan – Jones

Head coach Eddie Jones has indicated Dylan Hartley could face competition for the England captaincy in the near future.

Northampton hooker Hartley was seen as a controversial selection by Jones to lead the team before last year’s Six Nations but they went on to achieve a Grand Slam before finishing 2016 with 13 wins from 13 games.

Fitness permitting he will lead the side again in the upcoming championship.

But Jones has not decided who should skipper England in the long run-up to the 2019 World Cup.

Jones told the Guardian: “Dylan’s our ‘foundation’ captain but the next two years will be our [2019] tournament captain. Whether that’s Dylan — it’s a possibility — or someone else is something we’ll appraise.”

Asked about the World Cup that takes place in Japan in two years’ time, Jones forecast a final between his side and New Zealand, adding: “England to win by a point. It’ll be a cracking game.”

Hartley’s disciplinary problems make him a divisive figure, although his passionate leadership has appealed to Jones.

The 30-year-old is currently serving a six-week suspension for striking Sean O’Brien, and with Jones opting against playing him in the Anglo-Welsh Cup upon completion of his ban, he will not have appeared in a game since Dec. 9 by the time France visit Twickenham on Feb. 4.

To prove his fitness Hartley was due to be put through a gruelling training session this week at Northampton, overseen by a member of England’s back room staff.

Jones believes there is one outstanding candidate to lead the British & Irish Lions against the All Blacks in the summer, and it is not an England player but the new Wales skipper.

“I think the captain has to be a guaranteed selection and the guy who stands out at this stage is Alun Wyn Jones,” said the England boss.

“He’s a hard Test player. I don’t think it’s any coincidence he’s just been made captain of Wales.”

Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18507607/eddie-jones-undecided-whether-dylan-hartley-lead-england-2019-world-cup
Hartley not guaranteed to lead England to Japan – Jones
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