England skipper Dylan Hartley urges teammates not to become pre-occupied with the British and Irish Lions tour
Hartley has captained England to nine victories in a row this year
The hooker is favourite to lead the Lions in New Zealand next summer
Captain Dylan Hartley has reminded his England colleagues that there is a lot of work still to do and they shouldn’t become pre-occupied with the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour next summer.
“Every player has that in the back of their mind,” revealed Hartley.
“Lions selection comes off the back of playing well for your country, so at the moment everyone’s focus should be on playing well for their clubs and getting picked for England.
“You are always judged on your next performance, so I just want to play well for my club and be in [the frame for] selection for that South Africa game in November.”
“The key message from Eddie is how as a team do we get better, how do we improve?” Hartley added.
“Without winning that first game there is no point talking about going unbeaten, [so] every meeting we have had these last few days has been about South Africa and building for that game.
“I don’t think anyone in our team has beaten South Africa before, so there’s a huge opportunity there for us as a group.”
Meanwhile, Hartley believes the new club and country agreement will be of great benefit to the national side.
“We have a couple more of these camps before [the matches in] November which keeps us all connected and in England mode,” Hartley said.
“It’s hard to go from club to England, so the more we can meet together as a group the better for us as a team.
“It keeps us tighter as a group, and the more we meet those bonds stay tight.”