Dylan Hartley tipped as future England captain

Northampton boss Jim Mallinder has said hooker Dylan Hartley would be an "excellent" future England captain.

Mike Tindall wore the armband in Saturday's loss to Wales, with regular skipper Lewis Moody out through injury.

Hartley, 25, has won 29 caps since making his England debut two years ago and started all of this year's Six Nations fixtures.

"Dylan would be an excellent captain if that opportunity ever came around," Mallinder told BBC Look East.

"He's done brilliantly for us, he's been a great captain on and off the field.

"If he ever gets the opportunity, I'm sure Dylan would be delighted to lead his country.

"And I'm sure he'd do a very, very good job."

New Zealand-born Hartley became the Premiership's youngest captain when Mallinder named him skipper ahead of the 2009-10 campaign.

The Northampton director of rugby believes there has been a change in Hartley's attitude over his 133 appearances for the Franklin's Gardens club.

"He's always been a talented player, but probably some of the fitness side he's not been over keen on," he said.

"But I've seen a difference in Dylan's attitude in terms of training and preparation and he's now in very good physical shape.

"He knows that he's got to put it in off the field to become that better player at international level."