Hartley: ‘Bad boy’ no more

New England captain Dylan Hartley believes his disciplinary problems are a thing of the past.

The experienced Northampton Saints hooker, who has been suspended over the years for offences such as eye-gouging, biting, punching, head-butting and referee abuse, was named by coach Eddie Jones as the new skipper to lead England into Six Nations action.

Hartley said he would continue to ‘play on the edge’, but reiterated that he had learned from past indiscretions.

‘I sometimes get it wrong, but it has gone well for me at Northampton too. You need to get yourself at a level to be competitive and confrontational. It has gone wrong in the past but it will stay there,’ Hartley told the BBC.

‘I have learned from my lessons and it is for me to live with. Now I have to lead by example and answer the critics. I am a motivated person.’

Hartley said there had been plenty of time for introspection after missing out on last year’s World Cup.

'I’ve done things and been involved with things in the past that I can’t escape or get away from. It’s all there in the press to see, but for me, I’ve had some time off and I’m keen to get back into this England side.

‘Every game I play in I’m aware of perception and managing referees and trying to stay out of trouble, but while playing on the edge and playing a direct and confrontational game.’

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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Craig Lewis