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Hartley impressed by Lancaster

Dylan Hartley has given his tacit support for interim England head coach Stuart Lancaster to remain in post beyond the RBS 6 Nations championship.

The Rugby Football Union will open their interview process after the tournament, which England launched with away victories over Scotland and Italy. Lancaster has applied to be Martin Johnson's full-time successor along with, it is believed, former South Africa coach Nick Mallett and ex-Ireland boss Eddie O'Sullivan.

Hartley welcomed domestic boss Jim Mallinder's decision not to go for the job, and to commit to his role as Northampton director of rugby, as a win-win situation, saying: "I think that is perfect. I am very happy with the (England) regime under Stuart. My home and club life is perfect. Wherever I am, I am going to be happy playing rugby."

Lancaster was challenged with rebuilding the reputation of the England team following the World Cup debacle and Hartley has been impressed with his leadership.

"We believe in Stuart. He is doing a fantastic job. The whole change has been a breath of fresh air," Hartley said.

"I am not saying the old camp was wrong but this is a transition period, we have four years to rebuild (before the 2015 World Cup on home soil), and we are doing the right things.

"We are two from two."

Hartley would not be drawn on whether a successful Six Nations title defence would be enough for Lancaster to get the job permanently.

But he said: "In the whole set-up, stability is important."


From Belfast Telegraph