Wednesday, September 30, 2020

England captain Hartley won't stand for Grand Slam 'failure'

Mar 12. 2017
England's hooker and captain Dylan Hartley holds the Calcutta Cup trophy as leaves the pitch atfter winning the Six Nations international rugby union match between England and Scotland at Twickenham stadium/AFP
England's hooker and captain Dylan Hartley holds the Calcutta Cup trophy as leaves the pitch atfter winning the Six Nations international rugby union match between England and Scotland at Twickenham stadium/AFP
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By Agence France Presse

TWICKENHAM- England may have already retained the Six Nations title but captain Dylan Hartley warned it would represent a significant "failure" for the side if they did not go on to complete a Grand Slam next weekend.

Hartley's men overwhelmed Scotland 61-21 at Twickenham on Saturday to win their second straight Six Nations crown under coach Eddie Jones and equal New Zealand's record of 18 successive Test wins by a 'tier one' or leading rugby union nation.

They now travel to Dublin for a match against Ireland on Saturday where a win would see them become just the sixth team in the history of the Championship's various guises, and first since France in 1998, to complete back-to-back Grand Slams.

England will head across the Irish Sea in confident mood after a seven-try rout of Scotland, including centre Jonathan Joseph's impressive hat-trick, helped them post the highest points total by either side in the history of rugby union's oldest international fixture.

Australian boss Jones said completing two Grand Slams in a row would mean his England side had achieved "greatness" and the point was not lost on Hartley.

"Eddie talked to us about that (greatness) a little bit. We talked about it as well," Hartley said.

"We have two options -- there's failure on one side or you can kick on and get better and hit those lofty heights," the New Zealand-born hooker added.

"The performance against Scotland was pretty ruthless so it was a good progression for the team, but we've only equalled New Zealand's record. We'd like to go one further.

"We want to be the best team in the world, but we're not. That's the reality -- we're not. But we've got something to aim for."

Only three England teams have won successive Grand Slams, with Will Carling's men the last to do back in 1991-9

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