Eddie Jones has described captain Dylan Hartley as a ‘likeable rogue’ as he reflected on England’s first Six Nations grand slam in 13 years.
One of Australian Jones’s first moves when he took over as England’s head coach in November was making Hartley captain despite the Northampton hooker’s regular indiscipline.
His decision was fully vindicated as Hartley led by example throughout the Six Nations, which culminated in victory over France in Paris on Saturday.
“The great thing about Dylan is he is a bit of a rogue and he is a likeable rogue as he has good people skills, he is not afraid to tell people what they should be doing when they are not doing it,” Jones said at a media briefing on Sunday.
“He is not afraid of giving someone a pat on the back and he has done an outstanding job as captain. He will get better, he has done a really good job.”
Hartley was carried off on a stretcher late on in Paris, but England held firm to secure a 31-21 victory to help banish the memory of a dispiriting World Cup campaign when the hosts failed to even reach the knockout phase.
“When Dylan got injured the players took charge. Owen Farrell and George Ford knew exactly what they needed to do and that shows the growth of the team,” Jones said.
“They are both in their early twenties so showed remarkable maturity, the way they played that last 10 minutes was fantastic.”
With a tour to World Cup runners-up Australia on the horizon, Jones said the key was for England to keep improving.
“We need to keep improving the team and we will look at selection, look at the premiership very closely to see how we can improve selection,” he added.
“To win a grand slam is a nice achievement, but I think there is more ahead of us, so I am more excited by what could happen in the future.”