Cueto joins calls for Hartley to lead England


Mark Cueto has backed Dylan Hartley to captain England under Eddie Jones for the upcoming Six Nations.

Hartley has long been favourite to replace Chris Robshaw since England's dismal performance at the Rugby World Cup.

The Northampton Saints hooker has been a controversial figure due to disciplinary issues both on and off the field, and some have questioned whether his previous misdemeanours should rule him out of the running.

However, Cueto does not believe so and says the 29-year-old could be the right man to take the team forward.

"Since the fallout from the World Cup I've always gone along the lines of Dylan Hartley," Cueto told Omnisport. "I think everyone's pointing towards his disciplinary issues but if you look at any of the England captains over the years - your Martin Johnsons, your Lewis Moodys - they play on the edge. 

"They are up front and in your face, it's a physical game and let's not get away from that.

"Dylan's had his disciplinary issues over the years but more recently he's got a grip of that, he's got control of that - particularly in an England shirt - and I think the way he plays the game - he leads from the front, he leads by example, he's got 50-plus caps so is one of the more experienced players in the squad.

"So I'd certainly be angling towards him."

In fact Cueto believes handing Hartley the captaincy could help curb his disciplinary issues.

He added: "You give people responsibility like that and naturally can only have a positive effect. I know he's had issues but I think overall he has really curbed that discipline side of his game.

"He's matured as a player. I'm not excusing some of the things that he's done but ultimately rugby is a physical game, it's a confrontational, contact sport and you need guys that are playing on the edge. 

"Some of the best players in the world play on the edge, and he's certainly one of them."