Haskell backing Hartley for captain

Date published: January 25 2016

James Haskell believes England coach Eddie Jones will name Dylan Hartley as captain in his press conference on Monday.

While other possible nominations for the captaincy inculde current captain Chris Robshaw, scrum-half Ben Youngs, Joe Launchbury and the in-form Maro Itoje, Haskell is backing Hartley.

The duo have a history playing top level rugby together and the flanker indicated that his hard-nosed approach to the game is exactly what England need in a captain.

"I have played with Dylan since England U19s and gone all the way through with him," revealed the 30-year-old to Sport 360. 

"He is a good man and abrasive, which is what you want. He is always committed to what he does and he would be a good captain. He captained Saints for a long time and commands respect from the boys.

"He expects everyone to toe the party line. He’ll lead by example and his passion for the shirt is renowned.

"I love Dylan and he is a good friend of mine. You pick the players to do a job. I am not particularly conformist myself. I do not worry too much about people's opinions.

"Whoever is made captain, the rest of the team will have to get behind him and that is what we will do."

Haskell supports Hartley as a leader despite being the victim in an eye gouging incident at the hands of the hooker in 2007.

However, the Wasps captain believes Hartley's poor disciplinary record – which has seen him spend several months on the sideline during his eight year international career – is inconsequential.

"If you are the best guy for the job you lead by example and you play… your track record doesn't matter," continued Haskell.

"There might be a few people with stiff collars who will get upset, but that's the nature of the game. You live and die by the sword.

"Dylan is a good man and a good player. You know he will give 100 per cent and I could not care less what he has done before."