Jones backs under-fire England skipper Hartley

Eddie Jones has been receiving praise from all quarters for England’s superb run of form

Eddie Jones has been receiving praise from all quarters for England’s superb run of form

Jones would not comment on whether Hartley's playing form was worthy of Lions selection but believes his leadership makes him untouchable for England at present.

England coach Eddie Jones has used his creative thinking to offer a suggestion to Lions coaching Warren Gatland over his captaincy issue.

And the 53-year-old is now pondering which player to lead the team out against the All Blacks with Home Nations captains, England's Dylan Hartley, Greig Laidlaw of Scotland, Ireland's Rory Best and Wales' Alun Wyn Jones all vying for the armband.

"For whatever reason we didn't respond to the pressure of the situation on Saturday", Jones said.

"Dylan [Hartley] is an outstanding captain and does a super job". It's like when Mike Brearley captained the England cricket team; everyone questioned him, then he won the Ashes and no-one questioned him.

"This result doesn't change the plan at all. So to lose the Grand Slam game when we've already got the trophy is hardly a scar, it's a learning experience".

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Now Jones, who coached Japan's national team to a historic World Cup win two years ago, has followed up with a new, three-year gig.

"You look at the last Lions tour and Sam Warburton captained the first two and Alan Wyn Jones captained the third so I think you can separate it".

"You guys know the history of rugby. They got to the final in 2011 and they had to have a very kind referee to get them home", he added of New Zealand's 8-7 victory over France in Auckland. "We don't have to make decisions on players until at least the end of the first two-year project", said Jones.

"That's how hard it is for them to win".

"If we play them another 10 times, how many times do you reckon we'd win?" We've got Dan Cole doing an exceptional job, we've got Kyle Sinckler coming through.

"No one's ever won three in a row outright so we are still in a position where we could create a record in the Six Nations next season". We're good for No 10s, we're good for 12s, we're good for 13s.

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