Jones plays waiting game on England captaincy


Eddie Jones is to continue playing the waiting game before naming his England captain for the Six Nations, with Dylan Hartley remaining the favourite to take the armband.

Head coach Jones, who replaced Stuart Lancaster in November following England's dismal Rugby World Cup showing, named a 33-man party ahead of the Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 6.

However, there is still no mention as to whether current skipper Chris Robshaw will lose the captaincy, with speculation rife that Hartley will take over.

Choosing Hartley would be a somewhat controversial decision due to a poor disciplinary record, which included a suspension for headbutting Saracens hooker Jamie George that ultimately led to his omission from Lancaster's World Cup squad.

Asked whether Hartley would be captain, Jones said at a news conference: "Anyone could be captain. We've got 33 players, that goes down to 23 players and that goes down to 15. When we have 15 then we'll have a captain."

Jones, who said his decision on the captaincy is likely to initially be just for just the Six Nations, went on to describe what he is looking for in a skipper.

"He's got to be in the team and got to be one of the first selected in the team," he added. "Then he has to lead by example.

"He has has to be the best player, set standards for the team and for how we operate on the field and off the field. And then he needs to be a conduit between the coaching staff and the team."

Jones included seven uncapped players in his party including Sale Sharks number eight Josh Beaumont - son of former England captain Bill - as well as Wasps back Elliot Daly and Saracens' Maro Itoje.

And Australian Jones believes the new faces will add a freshness to the team.

"[They will bring] enthusiasm, energy and very hard work. Since 2003, if you look at the Six Nations, England rank fourth. That's not reflective of the talent in this country," he said.

"There are a lot of disappointed players out there. They know what they've got to do to get into the squad. We've got to decide who are the players who can really come forward."