Jones defends Hartley plan

04 March 2018 06:57:59 EST

England head coach Eddie Jones has hit back at critics of his decision to withdraw captain Dylan Hartley early in games.

Former Red Rose coach Sir Clive Woodward spoke out to question Jones' policy after claiming 'my heart sank' when Hartley was replaced by Jamie George in the 56th minute of England's 25-13 Six Nations defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield on 24th February.

Woodward, who guided England to World Cup glory in 2003, claimed the players needed the 'leadership and inspiration' of Hartley as they looked to force their way back into the contest.

Most front row players around the world go 60 minutes because of the amount of work they have to do is three times what they had to do 10 years ago.

Eddie Jones

However, despite Hartley's opposite number Stuart McInally managing to play the entire game for Scotland, Jones insisted that props and hookers now need replacing because of the demands of the modern game.

The Australian said: "The game has changed in terms of intensity. It's very hard for front row forwards to play 80 minutes.

"I've seen Mako Vunipola go 77 minutes and he comes off as a physical wreck. It takes half a week to recuperate, without any exaggeration.

"So most front row players around the world go 60 minutes because of the amount of work they have to do is three times what they had to do 10 years ago.

"Speak to Woodward about his opinion. We have set up the team so that the captaincy is movable."

England, who are 10/3 to win the Six Nations, are priced at 1/4 to get their campaign back on track against France in Paris next Saturday, while Les Bleus are available at 3/1.

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