Six Nations Championship 2017

Battered and bruised Eddie Jones looking worse for wear at Six Nations launch

The England boss arrives at the function with a black eye as Dylan Hartley looks certain to captain the Red Rose against France on February 4

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 January, 2017, 7:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 January, 2017, 7:53pm

England coach Eddie Jones arrived at the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday with a badly bruised face after a reported slip in his bathroom.

The Australian, who has won all 13 of his matches in charge of England since taking over following the 2015 World Cup, had a wound dressing around his left eye, which was bruised.

Jones hurt himself during a fall, said a Rugby Football Union spokesman refusing to give further details, although it is understood the coach may have slipped in the shower.

Meanwhile it appeared that Dylan Harley had been confirmed as England captain for the tournament.

The Northampton hooker, who last season led England to a Six Nations grand slam, took to the stage at the launch alongside rival Six Nations captains for a question and answer session.

Hartley was given a six-week ban after being sent off for striking Sean O’Brien during Northampton’s defeat by Leinster on December 3.

But despite his recent lack of match action, the New Zealand-born front rower is on course to lead England in their Six Nations opener against France at Twickenham on February 4.

Hartley, asked about his fitness, replied: “We did this last year talking about me, I’m here on behalf of the team.

England’s George Kruis will be fit for France Six Nations opener, says club coach

“The challenge is to use this week as best we can to get the preparation right for a huge first game.”

With injuries to first-choice players such as back-row forwards Chris Robshaw and Billy Vunipola set to deprive England of key players for the whole or part of the tournament, the champions’ squad depth faces a stern test.

“Last year there was a lot of column inches about Maro Itoje and George Kruis, but it’s good to see people like Courtney Lawes coming back,” said Hartley as he reflected on some of England’s second-row options.

“We’ve got good depth and competition brings the best out of the team.”

Eddie Jones confident Dylan Hartley will be fit for Six Nations opener against France

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones, whose side welcome England to Cardiff in the second round of the Six Nations on February 11, said Hartley’s men were the team to beat.

“They’re well out in front at the minute,” said the Ospreys lock.