Jones ready to hand England captaincy to Saints star Hartley

Dylan Hartley is back in action after a rib injury (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Dylan Hartley is back in action after a rib injury (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Eddie Jones wants Saints star Dylan Hartley to be the new England captain.

Jones replaced Stuart Lancaster as Red Rose boss following the World Cup failure and it is understood that the new man wants a new skipper.

Chris Robshaw has occupied the role since January 2012, but Jones is known to want a more confrontational character to lead the side.

Hartley has had disciplinary issues in the past, being banned for a total of 54 weeks during his career, but he was hugely respected during his six years as Saints captain.

The 29-year-old relinquished the role of skipper at his club during the summer, citing a need to ‘spend time and energy on myself as a player and at home as a dad’.

However, as one of the most experienced men England can currently call upon - Hartley has won 66 caps - he continues to be a valuable asset for club and country.

And Jones, who recently approached Alex King with a view to offering the Saints attack coach a role in the international setup, is clearly a big fan of Hartley.

The hooker’s immediate focus will be to return to the Saints team, as he continues to be sidelined with concussion sustained in the defeat to Saracens on November 7.

He will certainly miss Friday’s Champions Cup clash with Racing 92, with Jim Mallinder confirming that Hartley is still not 100 per cent.

“He’s training now, doing quite a lot, but he’s just not 100 per cent fit,” Saints boss Mallinder said on Tuesday.

“There’s a chance, but until he’s reporting that he feels completely back to normal, we won’t rush him back.

“He hasn’t done a full contact session yet.

“Most of the time he’s fine and he can run and lift heavy weights, but sometimes after a training session he doesn’t feel 100 per cent right.

“It’s not as if he’s got a splitting migrane, is violently sick or anything like that, it’s just hard for him to describe so it’s difficult for me to say what it is.

“He’s optimistic and we’re optimistic that it’s not going to be any more long-term.”

England’s opening Six Nations game is against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 6.