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Hartley gave up booze for England

Dylan Hartley has revealed he gave up drinking soon after the Rugby World Cup in a bid to get his England career back on track.

The Northampton captain recognised the need to change parts of his lifestyle after England's failed campaign in New Zealand.

Although he spent Friday helping England sponsors O2 with their 'pie and a pint' promotion, Hartley has not touched either in four months. "I have kicked that in the butt. I haven't had a drink in a long time now," he said.

"I started thinking about the Six Nations back in November and I have been fully focused on being in the best possible shape to compete in this team.

"The way things went there (at the World Cup) it was a good time to refocus my career and look at things I could do differently.

"As a leader of this group I needed to set an example, change the way I was doing things.

"I looked at my training and using my time a lot better, and the gains I have had from that have been rewarding."

Hartley added: "You get a lot of players who are trying to do things outside of rugby. While you have this opportunity you have to put all your effort and energy into it.

"There are a lot of distractions that come your way but as a player and a person you have to filter those out and think what is best for you.

"Rugby is who you are. That is why I am where I am. If the rugby stops the endorsements and things like that stop. You need to make sure you have enough time to focus on your rugby."

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