Former England captain turned pundit Dylan Hartley has insisted head coach Eddie Jones is popular among players.
The hooker lies fourth in most games as England captain, with the majority of his 30 caps leading the team coming in Jones’ reign.
And after the Australian signed an additional two-year extension to take him through to the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Hartley was asked how Jones is favoured among England players.
“He’s got to be popular, he’s the boss!” Hartley said in a sneak peek of Wednesday’s Rugby Tonight on BT Sport. “He’s very organised, very detailed, and he’s personable. But he’s also very hard and direct – a great coach.
“The thing is, when you say ‘is he liked?’, it doesn’t matter if he’s liked.
“He is liked, but playing for England or playing international rugby is aspirational. When you play for a club, you could sign a two or three year contract and you could fall out of favour but you’ve still got a job, and you’ve still got to go to training every day. You don’t have to turn up and impress, you can just check in and check out. I see players do that.”
Jones’ extended contract has reportedly bumped his pay up towards £800,000-per-year, and will make him the longest-serving head coach in English rugby history.
Currently holding the highest win ratio, Jones’ fast and furious approach to prepare his teams for Test rugby has incurred disapproval at times.
In May 2018, Bath owner Bruce Craig hit out at Jones’ training methods after prop Beno Obano has suffered a serious knee injury at a England training camp.
Craig questioned the ‘duty of care’ and labelled the injury to Obano and others to Anthony Watson and Sam Underhill as ‘totally unacceptable’.
Hartley believes the competition for places in the England team means injuries can be an unfortunate by-product of players giving it their all.
“When you play for England, if you don’t perform every day, you’re under a microscope so you need to be there to impress, and if you don’t you’ll go and they’ll bring in another player who wants to do it,” Hartley added. “So does he have to be popular? No.”
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