Jones questions Hartley's Test cred - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jones questions Hartley's Test cred

27/10/2008 08:43:23 AM Comments (0)

Former Australia rugby coach Eddie Jones said he feared for England if they gave a first cap to Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley during November's Twickenham Test matches.

Saracens director of rugby Jones saw his side beat Northampton 33-19 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Sunday but not before Hartley escaped with a verbal ticking off for a high tackle on Sarries scrum-half Mosese Rauluni.

But Jones warned the controversial New Zealand born front-rower's actions wouldn't go unpunished in an international.

"He took the head of the player away from the ball and it's a serious misdemeanour," Jones said.

"He has tended to have a reputation off the ball. We are certainly not happy with it."

Jones, Australia's coach at the 2003 World Cup where they lost in the final to England, added: "Discipline's exacerbated by the pressure of the game and, obviously, the last 10 minutes of Sunday's game is every minute of a Test match.

"Every possession you get counts when you're playing against the top five so that would be the worry. He seems like a good kid, he can play a bit, but you don't want to see players doing those sort of things.

"If he's doing it in a club game like this then you'd worry about him in a Test match."

Hartley was banned for six months two seasons ago for gouging the eye of Wasps and England's James Haskell.

But Jim Mallinder, Northampton's rugby director, insisted the 22-year-old had got what he deserved against Saracens.

"I had a quick look at it on the replay and didn't think it looked that bad actually," he said.

"He's aggressive but he's controlling himself and I think the referee probably made the right decision. It wasn't the best challenge and he got penalised for it.

"I think he now needs some international rugby to test himself against the best."

England play their first match under new manager Martin Johnson, the 2003 World Cup-winning captain, against the Pacific Islanders at Twickenham on November 8 with Australia, world champions South Africa and Tri-Nations kings New Zealand all following on successive weekends.

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