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Hartley ruled out for England against France

09 March 2018

Owen Farrell is the poster boy for those who argue the role of a team captain in sport is inflated as he appears supremely underwhelmed by the prospect of leading England out for the first time against France on Saturday.

England have their own "icon player" in the form of Owen Farrell, the Saracens playmaker and goalkicker who starts as captain for the first time in the absence of the injured Dylan Hartley.

Paris - England's scrum coach Neal Hatley is expecting a forward battle worthy of the glory years of the late 1980s when the Six Nations champions tackle France on Saturday.

Six Nations Round 4 Preview. France v England
Hartley ruled out for England against France

Farrell, named as skipper this week after hooker Dylan Hartley was ruled out with a calf injury, was at the centre of a pre-match scuffle with Scotland's Ryan Wilson in Edinburgh where England suffered a shock defeat. Obviously players sense selection changes earlier in the week and he has really given his best, he's trained hard, helped Anthony.

The Australian has recognised a rapid development in Farrell's leadership over the past year.

Farrell is not so arrogant, however, to think there is nothing he can learn from other great captains and leaders.

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"We are trying to develop a team that's self-reliant and we are moving along that pathway".

"No more than I would do anyway", he said. You see what type of player I am and you see a lot of that in leaders. "He's a passionate, aggressive player and he'll lead from the front".

"It is a tough call on Browny, he's been a really good solid player for us but we've chose to go for a back three with a bit more pace this week.", said Jones. What he says, they will understand'.

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'Owen is no-nonsense and just gets on with it, ' said Jones. Quite. But first and foremost the team needs to rekindle the right attitude, one that was lacking at Murrayfield, in the first half especially when Scotland smashed into them at the breakdown.

Jones had no hesitation in promoting Farrell and he does not want him to tone down his "in-your-face" instincts - aside from showing due composure when dealing with the referee and kicking at goal. "He expects high standards".

And with the likes of Francois Trinh-Duc reinstated at fly half and Mathieu Bastareaud occupying the centre, France are a unsafe outfit, and Mako believes they are growing in confidence too. So it's important that, early in the game, we let him know he's going to have a tough day in the office.

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Hartley ruled out for England against France