Eddie Jones defends policy of withdrawing Dylan Hartley early in matches
Sir Clive Woodward is among those to have questioned the wisdom of replacing the skipper at such a critical juncture.
Eddie Jones has defended his ongoing policy of withdrawing of Dylan Hartley early in games in the face of strong criticism led by one of his predecessors as England head coach.
Hartley was replaced by Jamie George in the 56th minute of Scotland’s 25-13 NatWest 6 Nations victory at Murrayfield a week ago with Owen Farrell assuming the captaincy, as is customary under Jones.
It came at a time when England’s fightback was underway, however, and Sir Clive Woodward is among those to have questioned the wisdom of replacing the skipper at such a critical juncture.
“My heart sank to see Dylan Hartley go off by pre-arrangement after 55 minutes with his team desperately needing some leadership and inspiration,” Woodward said.
“Can you imagine Lawrence Dallaglio or Martin Johnson going off at Murrayfield with 25 minutes to go when their team are in dire trouble?”
Jones insists that replacing props and hookers is a necessity in the modern game, even though Hartley’s opposite number Stuart McInally completed the full 80 minutes.
“The game has changed in terms of intensity. It’s very hard for front row forwards to play 80 minutes,” Jones said.
“I’ve seen Mako Vunipola go 77 minutes and he comes off as a physical wreck. It takes half a week to recuperate, without any exaggeration.
“So most front row players around the world go 60 minutes because of the amount of work they have to do is three times what they had to do 10 years ago.
“Speak to Woodward about his opinion. We have set up the team so that the captaincy is movable.”
Jones insists Hartley has been playing an important role in rallying England’s Six Nations title defence ahead of next Saturday’s clash with France in Paris.
“You need strong people. You need people to come in that aren’t kicking stones,” Jones said.
“You don’t need people who are feeling sorry for themselves, you need people to come in and want to set an example of how we will go forward – and he has done that.”