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Jones: Best player will be given the England captaincy; RUGBY UNION.

EDDIE Jones is yet to name his first England captain but he insists that he will pick his "best player" for the role.

The Austr A alian named a much-changed first squad yesterday since succeeding Stuart Lancaster as coach.

Dylan Hartley, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuila T gi return in Jones' Elite Player Squad for the RBS 6 Nations, but the 33-man party sees a number of bigname omissions including Tom T Youngs, Y Tom T Woo W d, Geoff Parling and Danny Cipriani. There are seven uncapped players, with Sam Hill, Josh Beaumont, Jack Clifford, Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Paul Hill and Maro Itoje featuring. No captain has yet been named, with Jones content to bide his time, saying: "We' W ve got 33 players. That goes down to 23 players, that goes down to 15 players. When we W 've got 15 players, then we'll worry about the captain."

Itoje has been spoken about as captaincy material, despite his inexperience, but Hartley is widely viewed as the favourite for the role.

The Northampton hooker's extensive record of disciplinary problems is the biggest counterargument, but that is a question Jones will address at a later date.

"He's one of the 33 players at the moment," he said. "If he gets down to 23 then he gets down to 15, then we'll worry about those things. Your captain's got to be your best player. He's got to be one of the first selected in the team, and then he's got to lead by example.

"He needs to set standards for the team in terms of how we operate off the field, how we operate on the field, and he's got to be a conduit between the coaching staff and the players."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2016
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