Hartley to prove fitness in 'simulation'
Dylan Hartley will look to prove his fitness to England head coach Eddie Jones ahead of the Six Nations later today, when he undertakes a work-out of Test-match intensity behind closed doors at Northampton.
Hartley is serving a six-week ban that expires next Monday, for a swinging arm on Seán O'Brien during Leinster's Champions Cup win over Northampton on December 9.
He has not played since, and members of England's backroom team will be looking on during today's "simulation" and then relay what they see to Jones, who will decide immediately whether the hooker is fit enough to lead his side when they begin the defence of their title against France in Twickenham on February 4.
The examination requires the 31-year-old to cover 120 metres per minute over 36 minutes.
Furthermore, despite Saracens again declaring yesterday that lock George Kruis has amply recovered from a broken cheekbone to feature against the French, Jones described his condition as "borderline" on Monday. Jones is set to name his Six Nations squad on Friday.