‘Crystal clear’ message for Hartley

Date published: January 22 2015

England head coach Stuart Lancaster will speak frankly to hooker Dylan Hartley about maintaining his discipline in the Six Nations.

The Northampton captain was recently suspended for three weeks after elbowing Leicester back Matt Smith, taking his weekly ban total in his career to over 50.

Lancaster is more than aware that England simply cannot afford to lose a man for ten minutes or concede needless penalties when they travel to Wales on February 6.

“(England forwards coach) Graham (Rowntree) spoke to him and I’m going to speak to him in the camp,” said Lancaster.

“If you give away dumb penalties clearly it’s going to compromise your chances of winning, particularly against Wales who have Leigh Halfpenny who can kick goals from everywhere.

“I’ll be making it absolutely crystal clear to Dylan, one to one, but also the team, that discipline has to be top-notch.

“I remember going into the game in Wales two years ago, and through penalties we ended up 9-3 down going into half-time which then extended to 12-3.

“And then before you knew it the first try came. I’ll speak to Dylan individually about all that.”

Lancaster also revealed that Nick Easter persuaded him that he would buy into England’s ethos on his return to the national squad, having not played for his country since the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

“He wanted to come back in and finish the story. He’s absolutely convinced me he’ll buy into what we’re about as a group.”