Wednesday 16 January 2019

Blackened coach Jones and captain Hartley look to adapt in white

England Head Coach Eddie Jones speaks to the media during the Six Nations launch
England Head Coach Eddie Jones speaks to the media during the Six Nations launch

There was a distinct similarity between England coach Eddie Jones and his captain Dylan Hartley at the launch of the Six Nations in London yesterday.

Both men came badly bruised.

Jones sported a black and cut left eye, his testimony suggesting it came from a fall in his hotel. Hartley's damage was more reputational in nature.

The recent crackdown on high tackles for which Jones' captain received a six-week ban for launching into Seán O'Brien also came up for discussion.

"You put speed cameras in and what happens? You get hundreds of thousands of people getting fined," said Jones.

"A year later the fines decrease.

"It's the same with high tackles. It will be the same until people learn to drive safely, and safely is within the speed limit.

"We want kids to play rugby. We don't want parents worried about the safety of their kids.

"That's the future of the game."

Apparently, Northampton Saint Hartley has failed to grasp the connection between his personal behaviour on the pitch and the questions he has to answer for this away from it.

"We did this last year talking about me, I'm here to talk about the team," he said, when quizzed about his general well-being.

Not only does Hartley not seem to learn from his mistakes, the hooker just doesn't get that he is a role model inside and outside the white rectangle.


Surely, the fact England won a Grand Slam under his leadership was the decisive factor in his retention of the captaincy?

Earlier Jones had some nerve to dismiss Hartley's cowardly and callous swinging arm into Seán O'Brien, instead talking about his extra work on tackle technique with defence coach Paul Gustard.

"The much-documented tackle technique, I've been working very hard with Gussie' on that," said Hartley.

"We always want to tackle low, but there are times when, as a second man, low isn't an option.

"It's about my arms, bring them tighter to my body, following through with those, then shoulder, then arm.

"A few technical things, but the sanctions have changed and we're looking after player safety.

"As players, we're seeing a lot more incidents in games now, so we have to adapt."

England will first do so against France.

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