New coach, new captain, new start? Dylan Hartley’s selection as captain will bring a tougher edge after England’s wet end to their own World Cup – as long as he stays on the pitch. Speaking of…
The gif that keeps on giving
“I have learned from my lessons and it is for me to live with,” new captain Dylan Hartley says of his disciplinary record, which has seen him clock up over a year’s worth of bans during his career. “Now I have to lead by example and answer the critics.”
Too right Dylan – let’s not see red again right? Right?
Coach Eddie Jones on Scotland v England
Jones loves a bit of media mind games. He’s already tried to claim that Scotland are “red hot favourites” for the first Six Nations match. Better check your betting slips…
“Remember when England got knocked out of the [World Cup] pool, there was a photo that was sent around on social media of an English guy struggling to get out of the pool? It’s one of the few things I remember.
“Now Scotland got out of the pool and went to the quarter finals, and feel like they were unjustifiably knocked out. How can they not be favourites? Tell me. Somebody needs to talk to William Hill and all those betting shops. What’s going on here?”
Pundit’s preview: Jeremy Guscott
Is Eddie Jones the right man for England?
Eddie is from overseas, and is still coming to terms with the expectations of the English nation and what it wants from its rugby team. He’s already brought a touch of realism on it. Our players are what they are, and if you were picking a Lions team today, I’m not sure how many Englishmen would get in that starting Test team.
I get the feeling he wants smart players who make good decisions. Yes, every single coach wants that, but we got the feeling that watching England had become too ‘sequential’. He’s used that word himself, which indicates not doing anything with any intuition. He’s going to look for those intuitive players who can play off each other.
My captain would be Joe Launchberry, not Dylan Hartley. I would pick the team and then the captain, and one of the first names on my team sheet would be Launchberry. For me Dylan isn’t an automatic pick, so he wouldn’t be my captain. That’s the dilemma.
The backs have not become any clearer since Lancaster’s era. Fly half is going to be a tough one, because it sets the tone of the attack. Owen Farrell and George Ford have different skill sets, but George brings more attacking options.
Wales have enormous experience, both with players and coaches. The nucleus of that squad has been together for at least four years, and they’re all 50 cappers. That will play a big part, and they should do very well, along with Ireland.
It would be unbelievable if England won the championship. I know they’ve come second in the past two tournaments so it doesn’t seem like a big step up, but with all the changes and the injection of young players, it would be some achievement. Then again, Warren Gatland for Wales and Joe Schmidt for Ireland managed it in their first attempts…