Having not played any rugby since March, Dylan Hartley has been waiting a long time for the green light to get back into rugby training following his prolonged spell with concussion.
Named in his 44-man training squad, Eddie Jones has confirmed to RugbyPass that the England skipper is ready to play again. Jones said, “All the medical reports we have on him are that he’s right for full training, which is great news”.
Hartley’s former teammate Chris Ashton is another notable name in the training squad, having impressed at Twickenham when he ran in a hat-trick of tries against England in the Barbarians match in May. Jones revealed that a conversation about his possible return to England occurred in the warm up to that game.
Jones told RugbyPass, “I had a brief chat to him before the Barbarians game. He was chasing a kick and I said hello to him and we had a quick chat. When we found out he’d signed for Sale, I gave him a ring. We’re very pleased he’s made himself available for England. He’s a good player and now he’ll either select himself or deselect himself. Certainly we’re excited about the prospect of him being available.”
Fourteen players have been left out of the pre-season camp including Harlequins’ Danny Care. Jones said, “We just feel like the best thing for him is to have a great pre-season and we know he’s having that with Harlequins – same with Dan Cole. We feel that then they’ll be at their best potentially for the November tests, both 80 cap players, so they’re important for us but we’ll need them to be at their best.”
Jones also confirmed that he has concluded his search for a defence coach and an attack coach and aims to make the appointments by the start of the season.
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