Saints hooker Hartley handed England captaincy for Six Nations

Dylan Hartley (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Dylan Hartley (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Dylan Hartley has been confirmed as England skipper for the Six Nations.

The hooker has proved his fitness to England boss Eddie Jones, having not played since December 9, when he was dismissed in Saints’ Champions Cup defeat to Leinster.

Hartley was only on the field for six minutes in that match before he was sent off by referee Jerome Garces for swinging an arm into the face of Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien.

But Hartley, whose suspension ended on Monday, displayed his determination to captain England in the Six Nations in a match-simulation test in Northampton last Wednesday.

Jones was happy with the player’s conditioning and after this week’s training camp in Portugal, Hartley was handed the captaincy.

He attended the Six Nations launch alongside Jones on Wednesday morning, shrugging off questions about his ban and stressing that it is now all about the team.

And Hartley, who won all 13 matches as England captain in 2016, will now set his sights on the first match of the tournament, against France at Twickenham on February 4.