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Dylan Hartley: Northampton Saints captain out of England's Six Nations opener

Dylan Hartley won't face Ireland. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley has been left out of England's squad for their Six Nations opener against defending champions Ireland.

The Saints hooker has been sidelined by a knee injury in recent weeks and isn't fit enough yet to be considered for the game on February 2.

It means that Owen Farrell will take on sole captaincy duties in his absence.

"Dylan won't be available for the Ireland game so we won't take him to Portugal but we are hopeful he will be back later in the Championship," Head Coach Eddie Jones said.

"Owen will be captain by himself and he will certainly have great support from a number of senior players."

Fellow Saints forward Courtney Lawes has made the cut though, while the uncapped quartet of Ben Earl, Jack Singleton, Dan Robson and Ollie Thorley have been picked for the first time.

England squad to face Ireland

  • Forwards: Jack Clifford, Dan Cole, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Nathan Hughes, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Ben Moon, Brad Shields, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Singleton, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams, Mark Wilson.
  • Backs: Chris Ashton, Mike Brown, Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Ben Te'o, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs.