Sydney - England coach Eddie Jones has
thrown his support behind Dylan Hartley to captain the British and Irish Lions
next year on their tour of New Zealand.
The Northampton hooker has excelled as
England skipper in 2016, captaining the side to eight straight victories, and
Jones sees him as a prime contender for the job.
"I think he would be a great
candidate," Jones told the BBC in Australia Wednesday, as England go after
a 3-0 series clean-sweep against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday.
"He has clearly done a good job
leading England - he has got the ability to develop relationships with people
- and therefore he would be a great candidate for the Lions job."
Next year will see the Lions bidding for
just their second series win on New Zealand soil after the celebrated 1971 team
that won a four-Test campaign 2-1 with one draw.
Jones said Hartley was "very good with
the players in making sure they understand standards we want in the team, and
making sure they understand the values that are important".
"He continues to do that on a daily
basis and that is so important for a captain."
Jones this week ruled himself out of
coaching the Lions against the All Blacks.
"I signed a four-year contract to make
England the best team in the world and I'm going to spend every minute I have
doing that," he told reporters after England secured an unbeatable 2-0
lead in the series against Australia.
"If I took the Lions job I'd have to
spend anything from six to 12 months not doing that."
Jones has said he believes England would be
represented by "at least" 15 players when the Lions select their squad
next year for a series that clashes with England's scheduled tour of Argentina