Hartley retains Jones' full support


Dylan Hartley retains the 100 per cent backing of England coach Eddie Jones despite his latest misdemeanour, a sending off that earned him a six-week ban.

The England skipper was shown a red card six minutes after coming on in Northampton Saints' European Champions Cup clash with Leinster, the hooker striking Sean O'Brien.

Hartley was accused of letting his team down by Saints boss Jim Mallinder but received support from international colleague Chris Robshaw, his predecessor as England skipper.

The ban will mean Hartley is free to play in the Six Nations next month and Jones will have no qualms in selecting him - providing he can prove his fitness.

"He's batting at 100 per cent [win rate]," the England head coach is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

"He's had one mistake and I can tolerate players making mistakes. Everyone's entitled to one. If that mistake repeats itself then it's an issue for us.

"He's got to come into Portugal super fit. If he's not then he understands that 100 per cent he won't be captain. 

"But if he is - and he's doing everything he can to be fit - then he will be."

England open their Six Nations title defence against France at Twickenham on February 4.