Eddie Jones has defended his policy of withdrawing Dylan Hartley early in games in the face of criticism led by one of his predecessors as England coach.
Hartley was replaced by Jamie George in the 56th minute of Scotland’s 25-13 victory at Murrayfield, with Owen Farrell assuming the captaincy.
It came at a time when England’s fightback was underway, however, and Sir Clive Woodward is among those to have questioned the wisdom of replacing the skipper.
“My heart sank to see Dylan Hartley go off by pre-arrangement after 55 minutes with his team desperately needing some leadership and inspiration,” Woodward said. “Can you imagine Lawrence Dallaglio or Martin Johnson going off at Murrayfield with 25 minutes to go when their team are in dire trouble?”
Jones insists that replacing props and hookers is a necessity in the modern game, even though Scotland’s Stuart McInally completed the full 80 minutes.
“The game has changed in terms of intensity. It’s very hard for front row forwards to play 80 minutes,” Jones said. “I’ve seen Mako Vunipola go 77 minutes and he comes off as a physical wreck. It takes half a week to recuperate. So most front row players around the world go 60 minutes because of the amount of work they have to do is three times what they had to do 10 years ago.”