Hartley to replace Robshaw as England captain in Six Nations

Dylan Hartley has emerged as the favourite for the England captaincy

England look set to have a new captain when they kick off the 2016 Six Nations Championship as Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley has emerged as the favourite to replace Chris Robshaw.

New Zealand born Hartley missed the Rugby World Cup due to being banned for a head-butt and has a long history of indiscipline.

Twenty-nine-year-old Harlequins flanker Robshaw was England captain throughout Stuart Lancaster’s reign as head coach.

Robshaw captained England in 42 of his 43 matches and during the World Cup he overtook Martin Johnson’s record of captaining England 39 times.

Joe Launchbury of Wasps was tipped as a possible future England captain but it is understood that new head coach Eddie Jones wants a captain with more of a confrontational character.

Hartley has won 66 caps for England which makes him one of the most experienced international players available to Jones and in 2004 he was captain of the Northampton Saints side that won a Premiership title.

New Zealander Hartley is however lacking match fitness currently and has been on the sidelines for a number of weeks due to concussion.

Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder says that Hartley will miss this weekend’s match against Racing Metro but that he could return for the club soon.

“He’s making progress, he really is coming on now,” Mallinder told BBC 5 live.

“He’s beginning to get into training and do a lot more, but until he’s 100% he won’t play.”

England’s pack was found wanting at the Rugby World Cup and Hartley’s return to the scrum could be a significant boost.

While Robshaw looks set to lose the England captaincy he is still being considered for England selection although Jones is considering him as blind-side flanker rather than on the open-side which is where he has won most of his 43 caps for England.

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