Saints hooker Hartley to skipper England in Six Nations opener

Dylan Hartley (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Dylan Hartley (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
1
Have your say

Saints hooker Dylan Hartley will skipper England in the Six Nations opener against France at Twickenham on Saturday.

Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood have also made the starting 15, with Teimana Harrison on the bench.

England won all 13 of their matches after Hartley took over as captain last January.

And they will now look to start the defence of their Six Nations title in style this weekend.

“We’ve been able to select a very strong and experienced team to play against France and we are excited to get the tournament underway,” said England head coach Eddie Jones.

“There’s a great rivalry between the countries so we’re looking forward to a great occasion playing against one of England’s oldest foes.

“In rugby terms you’ve traditionally got two contrasting styles – French flair and England’s dogged conservative approach, but we want to be absolutely daring against the French in this first game and set the standard for the tournament.

“Guy Noves likes a big team. He picks a traditional French forward pack with squat front-rowers who scrummage well, big locks who give a lot of ballast and athletic back-rowers. It’s based on size and crunching that gain line, getting an off-load and then playing with flair.

“Of course this gives you an opportunity when you’ve got a big forward pack against you and we intend to exploit that.

“We want to get better all of the time, we are ambitious and we want to be the number one team in the world.

“It’s exciting to be back at Twickenham. We’ve got great supporters and we’re looking forward to hearing them turn the volume up on Saturday.”

England: Brown; May, Joseph, Farrell, Daly; Ford, B Youngs; Marler, Hartley (c), Cole; Launchbury, Lawes; Itoje, Wood, Hughes.

Replacements: George, Mullan, Sinckler, Harrison, Haskell, Care, Te’o, Nowell.