England captain Dylan Hartley insists the injury crisis surrounding the squad isn't an issue ahead of the Six Nations
Dylan Hartley believes England must accept their injury problems and get on with it ahead of the Six Nations, while refusing to talk about making history.
After winning the tournament for the last two consecutive years, England have the opportunity to write history and become the first side to win it for a third time in a row.
The national side have been ravaged by injuries however, with head coach Eddie Jones forced into making wholesale changes across the squad.
Though England have been weakened as a result, the talent at their disposal still sees Jones’ men enter the tournament tipped as favourites.
For Hartley, who will lead his side out at the Six Nations, the injury conundrum is just a facet of the game and something England, like their opposition, must take in their stride.
“Everyone’s got injuries, it’s just something that you’ve got to deal with. We seem to deal with it just fine,” Hartley told Sky Sports.
“We’re missing some guys but it presents opportunities to others and we’ve been fine in the past and we’re obviously blessed with the depth of talent that we have.
“The guys that have come in already this week have shown good energy, a good keenness and it’s good.
They’ve handled themselves very well so we’re not concerned at all about injuries,” he added.
Henry Slade became the latest player to be handed a spell on the sidelines, after it was confirmed on Wednesday he would miss the first four weeks of the Six Nations campaign with a shoulder injury.
Hartley insists the focus has been purely on performance, as opposed to any wandering thoughts about becoming the first team to win the Six Nations for a third year in succession.
“Unless we win our first game we can’t put ourselves in the position to win the tournament so purely my focus at the moment is all on Italy,” Hartley said.
“So let’s not talk about making history,” he added.
England get their Six Nations campaign underway against Italy on Sunday, February 4, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.