Six Nations

Jones confident in Hartley's ability to lead England

Eddie Jones believes Dylan Hartley is the right man to lead England despite his chequered disciplinary history, claiming the team needed a new direction.

Hartley was confirmed as captain on Monday, taking over from Chris Robshaw, who led England at the Rugby World Cup but received widespread criticism following their pool-stage exit.

Northampton Saints hooker Hartley was omitted from the training squad for the World Cup after receiving a four-week ban for headbutting Saracens' Jamie George in last year's Premiership semi-final.

That sanction is the most recent in a long list of suspensions handed down to Hartley, who was banned for 26 weeks in 2007 for eye-gouging and 11 weeks in 2013 after being sent off for abusing a match official, costing him his place in that year's British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.

But speaking in a media conference following the announcement of Hartley as captain, Jones said: "The biggest risk is always not to take a risk.

"We need to get back to what the rest of the world fears about England and that's our forward play.

"Dylan has been successful as a player, he's been a successful captain at Northampton, guided one of the most famous clubs in England to a Premiership. The players will follow him.

"It's not about what Chris Robshaw didn't do. Chris has done a fantastic job for England but we've just decided to take a new direction. He's [Robshaw] still an important part of the team."

Hartley added: "It's easy to say I might not have had an international future. I've always said I'd get back in an England shirt. I always had faith I'd be back here.

"I feel like I'm prepared to do the job. Knowing the players we've got on this team, I'm confident in those around me."