The 31-year-old, who won his 88th cap against Australia on Saturday, is effectively on trial this autumn with Jones assessing whether to move onto the next generation at hooker with Test Lion Jamie George and with Owen Farrell as skipper.
But such was Hartley’s influence on England’s 30-6 victory – a record winning margin against the Wallabies – that, after being Jones’ “foundation captain” for the first two years of his reign, he is fast cementing himself in for phase two through to the World Cup.
“Dylan was outstanding. His captaincy was first-class. He’s moving from being a good captain to being a better captain,” said Jones.
“He’s been around a bit. He’s seen the bottom of the trough and he’s now surfing at the top of the crest. He appreciates relationships and he appreciates the opportunity of what he’s doing at the moment. He’s only going to grow as captain.”
Hartley, who appears to have put his chequered disciplinary past behind him, was calmness personified in the chaos of a controversial contest which proved a trial by television replay for the unfortunate Wallabies and 28-year-old Kiwi referee Ben O’Keefe.
“Dylan’s got a good demeanour about him with the referee,” said Jones. “It’s difficult refereeing the game. We play a game that has contest in every component. One team’s trying to keep the ball, one team is trying to get the ball and so your ability to communicate effectively with the referee is so important and he does that brilliantly.”
England have a doubt over flanker Sam Underhill for Saturday’s concluding autumn Test against Samoa.
Underhill failed a concussion test and came off after 17 minutes against Australia.
Mike Brown, who missed the game with concussion, hopes to take part in contact training today and put himself in position for a recall.
“We’re going to have to train hard for Samoa as they’re the games that come and bite you and they’re not going to bite us,” said Jones.
Source : EXPRESS