Dylan Hartley has today been confirmed as England’s new captain ahead of the 2016 Six Nations.
The announcement was made by head coach Eddie Jones on the day he took his first training sessions as the squad met up at Pennyhill Park to begin their preparations for the first match against Scotland on Saturday, February 6th.
Hartley is the most capped player in the 32-man squad, having represented his country 66 times since his debut against the Pacific Islands in 2008.
“It is a huge honour to captain England and a very proud day for me and my family,” Hartley told EnglandRugby.com.
An honour and privilege to be leading @EnglandRugby into this coming 6 Nations tournament. Truly humbled by your messages of support 🌹
— Dylan Hartley (@DylanHartley) January 25, 2016
“I’m really excited about the challenge ahead but in reality leading this squad of players will not fall just to me. It is essential for the success of this team that we quickly develop and establish a strong leadership group. There are a number of guys in this squad who will all have important leadership roles to play so we can take this team forward.
“There is a lot of young talent and potential which is great to see. Our focus over the next two weeks is to work hard and prepare for the Scotland game. Playing at Murrayfield will be a huge challenge and one we are all looking forward to.”
“We’re delighted for Dylan; it’s a massive honour to lead your country,” said Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder. “He was a superb captain for the Saints for six seasons, leading from the front and establishing a culture among the players which has been important in our successes over the past few years.”
“I am delighted to announce Dylan as England captain,” Jones added. “I know it will be a very proud moment for him, his club, his family and friends when he leads England out at Murrayfield.
“As a former captain of Northampton Saints and someone who has a lot of experience playing for England I have every faith he will lead the team tactically and passionately. English rugby is indebted to Northampton to have produced such a fine player.
“Dylan is an honest, hardworking bloke and I admire his aggressive and uncompromising approach to playing rugby. Together with Steve and Paul, we think he has all the qualities needed to lead this group of players. We look forward to working very closely with him to build a successful England team.”