English firebrand to take over captaincy

Dylan Hartley’s appointment as England captain would not be at odds with the Rugby Football Union’s core values, according to chief executive Ian Ritchie.

Hartley is expected to be named skipper for the Six Nations on Monday despite a dismal disciplinary record comprising 54 weeks worth of suspensions for a range of offences including biting, gouging, head-butting and swearing at a referee.

The 29-year-old hooker is viewed by head coach Eddie Jones as the type of combative player who will help restore the hard edge to England’s pack that was lost under the previous regime.

Replacing incumbent Chris Robshaw with Hartley could be viewed as a decision made contrary to the RFU’s core values of respect, discipline and sportsmanship, but Ritchie sees no conflict.

“If Eddie thinks Dylan is the right captain and he is the best thing to get a winning team, you put it into that perspective,” Ritchie said.

“I don’t see it in balance and perspective as a contradiction in what we have been trying to do and say about the values of the game.

“There is no impediment as far as I’m concerned. This is a call for Eddie and the coaching team.

“There is nothing that would make you say ‘no don’t go down this route’. It’s a facet that’s important for the head coach to do.”

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