'I'd had enough of being governed by Eddie'
SPOTLIGHT: Former England captain Dylan Hartley said on Saturday he had no regrets watching England play in last year’s Rugby World Cup Final comparing coach Eddie Jones’s regime to “brutal dance marathons in the Great Depression of the 1920s.”
The 34-year-old New Zealand-born former hooker enjoyed some good times under Jones who somewhat controversially appointed him his first skipper when he took over following the 2015 World Cup debacle.
Hartley led England to the 2016 Six Nations Grand Slam, a 3-0 series victory over Jones’s former side Australia and the 2017 Six Nations title – Ireland dashed their hopes of successive Grand Slams beating them in the final match.
However, a knee injury eventually saw the 97-times capped Hartley miss out on last year’s World Cup but he told The Daily Telegraph he did not feel any sadness even when England lined-up for the national anthems with South Africa in the Final.
The Springboks eased to a 32-12 victory in Japan.
“I’d had enough of being governed by Eddie,” he said.
“Playing for England felt a bit like taking part in one of those brutal dance marathons in the Great Depression of the 1920s, where penniless couples kept going until they collapsed.”
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Hartley said in his biography Jones delivered the news he would not be selected for the World Cup in typically blunt fashion on the phone.
The former Northampton Saints front-rower, who qualified to play for England due to his English mother, said he felt like a “piece of meat that had been thrown in the bin because it was past it’s sell by date.”
“You’re f****d, mate,” said Jones.
“Even by the standards of the 6am texts he delivers while running on the treadmill, which make the recipient’s balls tighten and the brain melt, this phone call was brutal,” Hartley wrote in his new book.
“He was effectively ending my England career with three words.”
However, Hartley no shrinking violet himself with a poor disciplinary record, said he owes Jones a huge amount.
“He [Jones] didn’t revive my career. He gave me a career,” Hartley said, who made his Test debut in 2008.
“I had a shit career before that.”
Hartley does not spare the governing bodies either accusing them of treating players like “widgets.”
“My generation of players have been crash dummies for a sport in transition from semi-professionalism,” said Hartley, England’s third most capped player.
“It’s being reshaped, subtly but relentlessly, by money men, geo-politicians, talking heads and television executives.
“They treat us as warm bodies, human widgets.”