New England skipper Dylan Hartley is ready to put his troubled past behind him and is keen to lead by example in this year’s Six Nations.
Hartley took over the England captaincy from flanker Chris Robshaw but his appointment has evoked a mixed reaction.
The Northampton Saints hooker, who has been banned for a total of 54 weeks during his career for offences ranging from biting, striking and gouging opponents, has vowed to repay the faith shown in him by England head coach Eddie Jones by towing the disciplinary line.
“I am confident in myself as a player at Test level,” Hartley told the BBC.
“I have captained my club for six years and have learned a lot there.
“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.”
When asked if he would get it wrong again, Hartley replied: “No, of course not. 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 is keen to retain his confrontational style of play but wants to do it within the rules of the game.
“I’ve done things and been involved with things in the past that I can’t escape or get away from,” added the 29-year-old.
“It’s all there in the press to see but for me I’ve had some time off in the summer 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.”