Eddie Jones: Dylan Hartley 'great candidate' for 2017 Lions captain

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter in Australia
Dylan Hartley has been backed to be Lions captain by Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones (right) said that Dylan Hartley had done a "good job" as England captain

England coach Eddie Jones has backed hooker Dylan Hartley for the role of British and Irish Lions captain in New Zealand in 2017.

Hartley has excelled as England skipper in 2016, captaining the side to eight straight victories, including a Grand Slam and a series win in Australia.

And Jones feels the 30-year-old should be a prime contender to lead the Lions against the All Blacks.

"I think he would be a great candidate," Jones told the BBC.

"He has clearly done a good job leading England - he has got the ability to develop relationships with people - and therefore he would be a great candidate for the Lions job."

Jones' choice of Hartley as captain in January was controversial at the time, given the player's chequered disciplinary record, but the Northampton hooker has been a revelation in the job.

The duo's unbeaten tenure has seen them secure a first Grand Slam success since 2003, and England's first ever series win down under.

"He is very good with the players in making sure they understand standards we want in the team, and making sure they understand the values that are important," Jones added.

"He continues to do that on a daily basis and that is so important for a captain."

One of Hartley's lieutenants - vice-captain Billy Vunipola - says the skipper's approach is perfectly in tune with that of Jones.

"I feel he is a clone of Eddie," Vunipola told BBC Sport. "They are both brutally honest and you have a lot of respect for that because you know where you stand."

And the number eight says Hartley's captaincy style gets the best out of his players.

"He will always put the team first. He is very selfless - everyone is equal. If he thinks you aren't pulling your weight he will tell you, and if you are doing a good job he will tell you."

"He would never ask of us something he wouldn't do himself. He is very inspirational, and a lot of boys follow him in that respect."

England go in to the third Test in Sydney in Saturday hoping to secure a historic 3-0 whitewash over the Australians.

Listen to Eddie Jones on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday morning, and don't miss 5 live Rugby on Thursday at 21:00 BST for a comprehensive preview of the final weekend of the summer tour matches.

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