Eddie Jones speaks with absolute certainty about Dylan Hartley situation
Eddie Jones has had some time to reflect on his thoughts since this...
That was the England head coach's reaction when his captain, Dylan Hartley, was sent off for a straight arm tackle on Leinster's Sean O'Brien. The Northampton Saints hooker was given a straight red card for his offence and subsequently copped a six-week ban.
While the RFU, Clive Woodward and several former internationals went out to bat for Hartley, his own coach at Northampton, Jim Mallinder, expressed disappointment in his actions.
Jones spoke with The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday and several publications carry his opinion on the Hartley situation this morning.
Jones is far from impressed but there is a strong chance Hartley, who returns from his ban on January 21st, will lead England in defence of their Six Nations title. He commented:
"Dylan will be more disappointed than anyone about what has happened and he has got to cop the penalty because the World Rugby directive on protecting the head is 100% right.
"He has let down himself, he has let down his club and he has let down his country."
Hartley has been suspended on eight different occasions now but only one misdemeanour was at international level [a 2012 bite of Stephen Ferris' finger]. His career total of suspensions now sits at 60 weeks.
Jones did sound as if Hartley would be back in the England fold once his ban expires. He said:
"He is eligible for selection for the Six Nations and it comes down to the case for every selection. We pick the best 23 and if he is in the best 23, then he has a chance to be captain. This is not the last chance for him but he understands that he can’t behave in the way he did."
In a separate interview with The Times, Jones remarked, "Let him pay the penalty and get on with it."
Barring injury or further suspensions, we'll be seeing Hartley lining out for England in the 2017 Six Nations.