Farrell in line to lead English after Hartley ruled out
Owen Farrell is in line to captain England on the three-Test tour of South Africa in June after confirmation that Dylan Hartley will not play again this season because of another long-term concussion injury that has raised fresh doubts about his future.
Hartley, the Northampton hooker who has been England captain throughout Eddie Jones's two-year tenure, has not played a game since sustaining a concussion injury in the Six Nations defeat by Ireland at Twickenham on March 17.
His club issued a statement yesterday saying that following medical advice, Hartley would not play again this season and would also miss England's tour and would instead take an "extended period of rest over the summer" with a view to return for Northampton's pre-season training.
"I'm very disappointed that I will not be available for selection for Saints' remaining Premiership games, as well England's tour to South Africa," said Hartley.
"It has been recommended by specialists that I take a break this summer and while I find that decision hard to accept, it's important I listen to that advice.
"I intend to use this time to recover fully from my injury, so I can be ready to hit the ground running when pre-season training starts later this summer."
Hartley, who admitted to not remembering lifting the Six Nations trophy at the Stade de France when England won the Grand Slam in Jones's first season in charge, previously said that his concern about a potential third head injury was based on medical advice as well as discussions with his family.
"I just had a constant reminder every time that you see your kid and you think, 'If I hit my head again, what's that going to mean?'" Hartley added. "Three in one season would warrant a bit of time off, take a step back and have a minute." (© Daily Telegraph, London)