Six Nations

Hartley can't remember lifting 6N trophy

2016-03-23 21:19
Dylan Hartley (Getty Images)

London - England captain Dylan Hartley has said he has no memory of lifting the Six Nations trophy after the team clinched a Grand Slam with a 31-21 win away to France in Paris last weekend.

The 29-year-old Northampton hooker missed the closing minutes of Saturday's match at the Stade de France after a sickening, albeit accidental, collision with the knee of France's Uini Atonio knocked him out and saw Hartley taken off the field on a stretcher.

"Trying to piece the night together I can't remember certain things so it's almost like a drunken night," he told BBC Radio Northampton on Wednesday.

"I'm looking at photos, trying to remember things. I can't remember the post-match presentations."

The New Zealand-born front-row added: "If you look closely there's this strange man always lurking about 10 metres in the background -- that's actually the England rugby doctor who's keeping a close eye on me."

Hartley said he was unsure of when he would return to action with English Premiership side Northampton following his head injury.

In the meantime Hartley thanked both England coach Jones and Midlands club Northampton, whose director of rugby is Jim Mallinder, for keeping faith with him despite a career that has seen him collect a huge 54 weeks worth of suspensions for a variety of disciplinary offences.

Hartley missed last year's World Cup in England after former coach Stuart Lancaster left him out of the squad completely following a ban for headbutting.

Yet after Lancaster was sacked following hosts England's first-round exit at the World Cup, one of new boss Jones's first acts was not just to restore Hartley to the side but make him captain as well.

The Australian coach, the first foreigner to be put in charge of the England side, then saw his decision vindicated as Hartley led the team to a first Grand Slam since their World Cup-winning year of 2003.

"Luckily Eddie saw something in me that he liked and gave me a shot," said Hartley, who has now won 71 England caps. "I'd like to think I've repaid that faith."

Hartley was made England captain after a stint as Northampton skipper that saw him lead the Saints to a Premiership title and finish as runners-up in the 2011 European Cup final before he stepped down prior to the start of the current season.

"I think maybe the captaincy role at England probably stemmed from those guys sticking by me," Hartley said.

"Every time I've had some sort of setback, it would have been easy for Jim or the board to say 'we probably need to go in a new direction', but they've always stuck by me and supported me in the role."

Read more on:    england  |  six nations  |  dylan hartley  |  rugby

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