Jones won't give up on Hartley
NEWS: England head coach Eddie Jones has backed Dylan Hartley to continue as England captain for the upcoming Six Nations tournament.
Hartley will be short in game time when the tournament starts on February 4 after the 30-year-old picked up a six-week suspension for a swinging arm offence while playing for Northampton Saints in a Champions Cup match against Leinster in December.
Despite Hartley's poor disciplinary record, Jones will not give up on the player, but he has given Hartley up until January 22 to prove his fitness when the England squad reconvenes in Portugal for a pre-Six Nations camp.
"Dylan has got to come to Portugal fit and ready to go," said Jones told The Telegraph. "He's doing all the right things at the moment and if he keeps on doing that, there's no reason why he won't be starting hooker and captain.
"He has got to be one of the fittest players. He is on a stringent fitness programme now. He ate turkey and broccoli for Christmas dinner. He has to watch his diet."
Jones said has chatted to Hartley to remind him of his responsibilities.
"We've had many chats and no one is more disappointed than he is," said Jones. "He is a proud Northampton player and he wants to captain England. That's the first mistake he has made for us. Dylan made a judgment error.
"He went to hit the bloke hard, he wanted to stop the ball, the player's height changed and he had a loose arm. I see that as his first mistake, so there is no reason why that changes anything."
Source: The Telegraph