Dylan Hartley believes Eddie Jones’ planning can be key for England at World Cup

England begin their World Cup campaign against Tonga on September 22.

By Press Association Published: 14 September 2019 - 9.00pm


Rugby Union

Dylan Hartley believes the emergence of a “new age England forward pack” and Eddie Jones’ precision planning can combine to deliver World Cup glory.

Former England captain Hartley was left out his country’s 31-man squad for Japan having being sidelined since December by a knee injury.

The 33-year-old hooker feels the team has progressed during his enforced absence and is excited by the potentially potent blend of physicality and flair available to head coach Jones.

After backing England to return home victorious, Hartley explained: “I think it’s just grown quite nicely to this point.

“The game that they can play – they can be physical, they have got a forward pack that can be a stereotypical English forward pack, they can be brutal, they can be set-piece dominant.

Dylan Hartley believes England’s pack can be dynamic in Japan (Handout/PA)

“But equally they are dynamic.

“I would call it a new age England forward pack. It’s the evolution of the England forward pack.

“These guys can carry, they can pass, they have got an all-round game.

“If they want to keep it tight, they can. They can bully teams but if they need to play they can do that too. And the backline, equally, is defensively sound.

“I just believe in the way they can play the game. The challenge will be adapting that game to what is put in front of them. Can they change mid-game? And I think they can.”

“I don't think they are scared of anyone”
- Dylan Hartley

Australian Jones has extensive knowledge of the host country having served as Japan coach from 2012 until the end of the previous World Cup in 2015.

The 59-year-old also holds a consultancy role with Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath.

England landed in Tokyo on Monday before their travel plans were briefly disrupted due to the fallout from Typhoon Faxai.

Hartley expects England’s off-field organisation to be like a “military operation” and feels Jones’ meticulous preparation can give the squad an advantage over their rivals.

“Logistically, I don’t think there will be any team better organised than England off the field,” continued New Zealand-born Hartley, speaking at a Dove Men+Care event.

Eddie Jones
Dylan Hartley feels Eddie Jones’ knowledge of Japan will be key for England (Adam Davy/PA)

“With Eddie’s local and inside knowledge, his network there, the infrastructure behind the playing squad is almost two to three members to every member of stuff. The operation is unbelievable.

“And I know being involved with the preparation over the last few years, the scheduling and everything, they are so well drilled and organised it is like a military operation.

“It matters what hotel you’re in, what you are doing, the downtime, where you are going, buses, the journeys, the stadiums, the training grounds, all those little things matter. And I think England are going to be strong.”

England have been drawn in Pool C for the tournament, alongside Tonga, the United States, Argentina and three-time runners-up France.

The 2003 World Cup winners begin their campaign against Tonga in Sapporo next Sunday and Hartley predicts a fearless approach.

England Training Session and Press Conference – Twickenham Stadium
Dylan Hartley expects England to be strong at the World Cup (Adam Davy/PA)

“I don’t think they are scared of anyone, honestly,” he said.

“I think there’s no point talking about teams they’re not going to face.

“France and Argentina are going to be a pretty good warm up. They are going to have to earn their way to a quarter-final.

“I wouldn’t worry about anyone other than that.

“You’ve got to be respectful of Tonga and USA but the expectation is on England to fly through those but I know their mantra will be to focus on that first game.

“There’s always a team, there’s always someone that’s going to do an upset and you don’t want to be that team getting the upset against you.”

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