Dylan Hartley keen to grab England opportunity

Dylan Hartley is keen to grab his chance if selected in England’s starting line-up against South Africa on Saturday.

Hartley missed the 2-1 series defeat by the Springboks in June in order to take a concussion-enforced break from the game.

James Haskell, Dan Cole and Chris Robshaw are not currently involved, while Harlequins full-back Mike Brown was dropped from the squad for the game against the Springboks – which is live on Sky Sports Action.

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Northampton player Hartley is therefore keen to enjoy whatever time he has a left as an international player as he looks to add to his 93 England caps.

“I’m delighted I’m still here. I’m delighted I still have the chance to play for England,” said Hartley.

“Everyone asks about trying to get to 100 games. I can honestly say I’m not counting.

“I’m just looking forward to the next one because you don’t know when your last game is and your time is up.

“What I’ve realised when people start talking about 100 Tests, it’s a bit like climbing a mountain. The higher you get up it, the harder it gets. That keeps me grounded.

“I want to make sure I enjoy this weekend and the build-up. I just want to enjoy the next one. Number 94.”

Hartley now shares the leadership duties with Owen Farrell, the Saracens playmaker who deputised as skipper in South Africa.

The pair will be named co-captains at Twickenham and Hartley insists it makes little difference to the system that was in place since he took over from Robshaw at the helm.

“In terms of the role, I think it has just got an official title now,” added Hartley.

“I’ve always roomed with Owen, I’ve always bounced ideas off him. He has always been a sounding board for me and vice-versa. Any ideas have always been discussed in our room.

“On the field, he is who he is. He plays and he competes and he leads by example.

“Off the field, it’s been seamless, he is no different. He presents meetings. He asks questions and provides answers. He is very much the same person.”

#Followtherose this autumn with all of England’s Tests live on Sky Sports throughout November. The action starts on Saturday, November 3 against South Africa before clashes against New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

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