England coach Eddie Jones needs to drop his captain Dylan Hartley to make way for hooker Jamie George, according to former international Pat Sanderson.
“For me there isn’t really an argument to be had.” said Sanderson.
“That’s not a criticism of Dylan, it’s just that in Jamie George we have, what I think, is a truly world-class hooker and he has to start.
“I think Eddie has to be brave enough to recognise that the culture and the values of his squad will permit that to happen now.
“My view is the progression of England, the next stage of English rugby, has Jamie George in the No 2 shirt and the days of niggle are important but probably second now to intelligent, physical, hard-working rugby players.
“I don’t think there’s any dispute around who has the better set piece, who has the higher work rate, who has the more involvement in the game. I think Jamie George is a better, more intelligent rugby player than Dylan Hartley.
“But what Dylan has done for England and represented is that physical edge. Jamie has had to change perception and prove to Eddie and everyone that he can stand up and fulfil that role as well.
“I think over the last 12 months he’s proved that he can do that.
“There are many ways to lead and one way is to be the first man over the top with the bayonet on and to lead the troops that way and it’s very impactful and very visible to players around them but it’s very short term,” Sanderson added.
“What you really want is the person who has good intelligent people skills, who will deal with people on an individual basis, who will get the best out of the people around them, but not leading from the front but from behind.
“That kind of leadership is sustainable and it really just comes down to the progression of England and Eddie’s view.
“Eddie is an incredibly smart bloke, make no mistake about it, and he’ll have a short, medium and long-term plan. His short-term plan had Dylan Hartley at the heart of it. He wanted to get that bite and that backbone into the England side.
“I have also no doubt that Eddie will have a medium and long-term plan that’s sustainable and sustainable leadership comes from within, from the quiet word spoken in the training room, not the fastest guy that runs from the tunnel.”