Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

Eddie Jones backs Dylan Hartley but warns England skipper must do better

By Robert Jones

Eddie Jones says England captain Dylan Hartley "let down" himself, Northampton and his country with his red card against Leinster.

But the national team coach denied that the offence, for which Hartley was banned for six weeks, represents a "last chance" and the hooker remains in contention for the Six Nations.

Hartley was sent off in Northampton's Champions Cup loss on December 9 for a high swinging-arm tackle on Leinster's Sean O'Brien just six minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Jones, who was in the crowd to watch the game, was typically forthright in his views.

"Dylan will be more disappointed than anyone about what has happened and he has got to cop the penalty, because the World Rugby directive on protecting the head is 100 per cent right," he said.

"He has let down himself, he has let down his club and he has let down his country."

Hartley's suspension expires on January 23 - in time for England's opening Six Nations game against France on February 4 - and, while Jones offered no assurances, he will not cast his skipper aside.

"He is eligible for selection for the Six Nations and it comes down to the case for every selection - we pick the best 23 and if he is in the best 23 then he has a chance to be captain," said Jones.

"This is not the last chance for him but he understands that he can't behave in the way he did."

Meanwhile, Jones has revealed he will leave his role as England head coach after the 2019 World Cup in Japan - regardless of whether he wins it or not.

The Australian, who took over from Stuart Lancaster after England's disastrous World Cup on home soil last year, is yet to taste defeat as his side bagged 13 wins from 13 in 2016.

After the 13th and final win of the year, a 37-21 victory over Australia, Jones insisted that his long-term goal would conclude "2nd of November, 8pm Japan time" - the date of the 2019 World Cup final.

And the 56-year-old added: "Four years is enough. It is emotionally draining."

Jones is aiming to knock New Zealand off the top of the World Rugby rankings.

"We should think we can beat everyone," he added. "I want us to have that attitude. Like the old Manchester United side, the same as the All Blacks.

"I want our team to have that. I think we are getting there."

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph