Mallinder's delight as Saints star Hartley is handed England captaincy

Saints boss Jim Mallinder says he is delighted for Dylan Hartley after the hooker was named England captain.

Jim Mallinder is happy for Dylan Hartley (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Jim Mallinder is happy for Dylan Hartley (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Hartley will lead his country in the Six Nations, which begins with a game in Scotland on February 6.

The 29-year-old made his England debut against Pacific Islanders in 2008 and now has 66 Test caps to his name.

And new England head coach Eddie Jones believes Hartley is the right man to skipper his side.

Mallinder named Hartley as Saints captain for six successive seasons before the player relinquished the role prior to this campaign.

And the director of rugby has backed Jones’s decision.

“We’re delighted for Dylan; it’s a massive honour to lead your country,” Mallinder said.

“He was a superb captain for the Saints for six seasons, leading from the front and establishing a culture among the players which has been important in our successes over the past few years.”

Jones has admired the work Hartley has done in Saints colours.

And the England boss said: “I know it will be a very proud moment for Dylan, his club, his family and friends when he leads England out at Murrayfield.

“As a former captain of Northampton Saints and someone who has a lot of experience playing for England I have every faith he will lead the team tactically and passionately.

“English rugby is indebted to Northampton to have produced such a fine player.

“Dylan is an honest, hardworking bloke and I admire his aggressive and uncompromising approach to playing rugby.

“Together with Steve (Borthwick) and Paul (Gustard), we think he has all the qualities needed to lead this group of players.

“We look forward to working very closely with him to build a successful England team.”