Hartley lauds Lancaster's regime
February 22, 2012
Dylan Hartley is pleased with Mallinder's decision to stay with the Saints © Getty Images
England hooker Dylan Hartley has praised the work interim coach Stuart Lancaster has done so far with the national side.
The Rugby Football Union will open their interview process after the tournament, which England launched with away victories over Scotland and Italy. Lancaster has applied to be Martin Johnson's full-time successor along with, it is believed, former South Africa coach Nick Mallett and ex-Ireland boss Eddie O'Sullivan.
Hartley welcomed Jim Mallinder's decision not to go for the job, and to commit to his role as Northampton director of rugby, as a win-win situation. "I think that is perfect," said Hartley, the Northampton hooker who was made club captain by Mallinder in 2009. "I am very happy with the [England] regime under Stuart. My home and club life is perfect. Wherever I am, I am going to be happy playing rugby."
Lancaster was challenged with rebuilding the reputation of the England team following the World Cup debacle and Hartley has been impressed with his leadership.
"We believe in Stuart. He is doing a fantastic job. The whole change has been a breath of fresh air," Hartley said."I am not saying the old camp was wrong but this is a transition period, we have four years to rebuild (before the 2015 World Cup on home soil), and we are doing the right things.
"We are two from two."
Hartley would not be drawn on whether a successful Six Nations title defence would be enough for Lancaster to get the job permanently. But he said: "In the whole set-up, stability is important."
England return to Twickenham for the first time since the World Cup when they tackle Triple Crown-chasing Wales on Saturday afternoon. The World Cup squad skulked out of the back door of Heathrow after returning from New Zealand, but Hartley is excited to showcase the new-look England team on home soil.
"This is a perfect chance for us, a real chance to get the support of the nation right behind us," Hartley said. "We have a chance to play in front of our own fans, do the shirt justice and get the nation behind us.
"The lads will put everything in. There will be 100% effort and commitment like we showed against Scotland. Hopefully we will play with the composure we had against Italy, when we came back from nine points down to win, and we want to put more emphasis on our attacking game.
"They are a team in form. We will be underdogs. I don't mind that. People were writing us off against Scotland saying we didn't have the experience. You read that as players and think, 'We will prove them wrong'.
"We are quietly driven to do well."
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