Hartley feared England career was over


Dylan Hartley said he thought his England career was over when he was left out of the squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The Northampton Saints hooker was overlooked by Stuart Lancaster after being banned for headbutting Saracens hooker Jamie George in the Premiership semi-final last May.

Hartley was recalled to the squad by new England head coach Eddie Jones last week and is the favourite to be named captain of his country ahead of the Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 6.

The 29-year-old has served more than a year in suspensions during his chequered career and has revealed he thought his international career may have come to an end when he was snubbed by Lancaster.

"For me missing out on the World Cup... I thought I'd played my last game for England. The chance to play in the white shirt again, at Twickenham, that's what it means to me - just another chance." he told BBC Sport.

"Obviously I'm on eggshells, on tippy toes, because of the new management. I want to impress and make a good account of myself and get in that team.

"I've had no previous experience [of Jones], I've never met the bloke, so it's a totally new thing for me. I'm going in to impress, work and hopefully get in that team. Hopefully make some good new relationships there."