Kiwi Hartley to captain England?
Foreign influence in England's rugby could be extended to having a New Zealander as captain if former British and Irish Lions player and coach Sir Ian McGeechan has his way.
With Eddie Jones steering the English rugby ship after the Rugby World Cup debacle the slate has been wiped clean and one of his key first decisions will be whether he needs to replace captain and flanker Chris Robshaw.
Writing in the Telegraph, McGeechan said the time may be right to name one of the problem figures of the English game, New Zealander Dylan Hartley as captain.
While he has had both disciplinary and concussion problems, the former keeping him out of former coach Stuart Lancaster's World Cup side, McGeechan said Hartley merits a place in the side and had been missed during the World Cup where he would have made a difference.
"The situation needs a strong personality and character to lead England. And Hartley is that man. He has been captain of Northampton. It is not as if it is a new role for him," he said.
There was an element of gambling involved due to Hartley's discipline issues but Jones, if he took that path, would need to back himself while giving Hartley a clear understanding of what was expected from him, and that did not include a regular diet of yellow cards.
"Whenever I have spoken to Hartley, I have found that you can have a very good rugby conversation with him. He seems to me that he has a good rugby brain, and I think he could form a really good rapport with Jones because it is so important that the coach and captain have a close and special relationship," he said.
McGeechan said while Jones might also opt to keep Robshaw, he thought that was unlikely as he was a link to the previous regime and a new voice was needed.
"The captain has to have the respect of his team-mates not just for the way he plays but also for the presence he brings. He also needs the respect of the opposition too.
"Actually it is through your captain that a team makes its statement of what it is and what it wants to be collectively. Hartley can make that statement alongside Jones," he said.
McGeechan didn't agree with the choice others were offering of lock Joe Launchbury as skipper because he was too quiet, and in a different mould to Martin Johnson with whom he was being compared.