Jones backs 'outstanding captain' Hartley


Eddie Jones has backed Dylan Hartley to remain an "outstanding captain" for England but refused to be drawn on whether he merits a place in the British and Irish Lions squad.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland hinted that Hartley may not board the plane to New Zealand, commenting on the hooker being under pressure from Jamie George for his place in the England side.

There has also been talk of Hartley being replaced as England skipper, but Jones is behind the 30-year-old after he lifted the Six Nations trophy for the second successive season.

"Dylan is an outstanding captain. I'm not discussing Lions selection but he is an outstanding captain for us and does a super job. There's no reason why he won't continue to do a super job," England head coach Jones said.

"It's like when Mike Brearley captained the England cricket team; everyone questioned him, then he won the Ashes and no-one questioned him.

"I thought he was better than he was in November and there's no reason why, the next time he comes in, he can't be better than he was this time. 

"As long as he keeps improving, he's in the right direction, like every other player."