Six Nations 2012: Dylan Hartley – I would love to captain England

I would love to captain England, says Hartley

Dylan Hartley has staked his claim for the England captaincy ahead of their Six Nations opener against Scotland next Saturday.

While Chris Robshaw, the Harlequins
skipper, is thought to be the prime contender in the absence of the
injured Tom Wood, Northampton captain Hartley admitted he would relish
the leading role if it is offered to him by interim coach Stuart
Lancaster. 'If asked I feel I could do it,' he said.

Taking the lead: Dylan Hartley

Taking the lead: Dylan Hartley

'I would feel very confident doing it. There is so much experience in a youthful squad, so it's no big deal about who gets it. It's not an ego thing and whoever gets it will be ready and supported by everyone. If it was me, it would be very special.'

Hartley is only 25, but he is now a veteran among rookies in the national squad. Of the 32 men selected by Lancaster for the looming campaign, only three have won more than hooker Hartley's 34 caps – Toby Flood (46), Matt Stevens (39) and Lee Mears (38). Of that trio, only Stevens has a chance of starting against Scotland at Murrayfield, so Hartley could be the leading man in England's XV in terms of experience.

He added: 'I believe in simple captaincy – simple messages and I go out and try to do my job on the field.

'If I feel there's something that needs to be said, I will say it.'