Jim Mallinder again talks up Dylan Hartley as England captain
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder talks up the prospect of Dylan Hartley being named England captain
Dylan Hartley may be sweating on his fitness for the autumn internationals after suffering an eye injury but Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder has once again given his England captaincy credentials a ringing endorsement.
Chris Robshaw appears to be in the box seat to lead England out when they begin their autumn campaign against Fiji on November 10 however head coach Stuart Lancaster himself admits he is yet to decide.
There is weight behind the claims for Robshaw to be England captain again having taken over the reins for the first time during the RBS 6 Nations earlier this year and then the summer tour of South Africa.
Hartley should be fit for the autumn internationals despite suffering a small hairline fracture to his eye socket during Northampton’s clash with Wasps on Friday – the prognosis being two weeks on the sidelines.
And, should Lancaster indeed look elsewhere aside from Robshaw, Saints director of rugby Mallinder insists he wouldn’t go wrong with Hartley, who has made 42 appearances for England since making his debut during the 2008 autumn internationals.
“I can’t really talk for Chris Robshaw but I can speak very, very highly of Dylan Hartley,” said Mallinder.
“We appointed him captain of the club a few years ago and I think that he has matured as a player, he’s very strong on the field in terms of being a leader and leads by example.
“Hooker is a tough position but he leads from the front. Off the field he’s got the respect of all these players and those around him and he’s definitely a candidate.”