Hartley, Jones hail England character after Cardiff comeback


Dylan Hartley and Eddie Jones each paid tribute to the character of England's players after they again plucked victory from the jaws of defeat in an absorbing 21-16 triumph over Wales on Saturday.

A week on from their come-from-behind success against France at Twickenham, the reigning Six Nations champions entered the final five minutes in Cardiff trailing Wales by two points.

However, Elliot Daly then surged down the left wing for a match-winning try, extending England's record streak of successive Test wins to 16 and shortening the odds of an unprecedented second grand slam in a row in the six-team championship.

Asked if he had still believed in his side prior to Daly's try, England skipper Hartley - who was replaced by Jamie George early in the second half - replied simply: "Yes.

The hooker told BBC Sport: "[It was] just unbelievable character from the side. They believe. We play for a full 80 minutes, 81 minutes if need be.

"But full credit to Wales, [they gave us] an unbelievable challenge. They are a hell of a side and we knew physically they'd be there. From minute one they showed how physical they were. It was a hell of a Test match, a hell of a Test match."

Pressed on his 46th-minute withdrawal, Hartley added: "I want to play as long as possible but I'm sure the substitution was for the good of the team. It's a call that comes from up top and it's something I've got to deal with. If it's for the team, that's the main thing."

Head coach Jones, who is still to taste defeat since succeeding Stuart Lancaster, was also full of praise for England's efforts.

"I always thought we could still win the game," said the Australian. "I think it's grit and I think the players believe we can be the best team in the world.

"If you want to be the best team in the world, you've got to win those games where you're not absolutely at your best and you're against an opposition that's playing well, and we did that."