November 10, 2017 22:34 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Captain Dylan Hartley warns England are now marked men

Captain Dylan Hartley warns England are now marked men

Dylan Hartley claims England must learn to live with a ‘target’ on their heads as they close the gap on the world’s best.

Dylan Hartley claims England must learn to live with a ‘target’ on their heads as they close the gap on the world’s best.

The Red Rose skipper has warned his team-mates they will be marked men when they kick off their autumn campaign against Argentina.

England have won 19 out of 20 Tests under Eddie Jones and Hartley says they can no longer be ‘polite’ in their quest to become bulletproof.

England head coach Eddie Jones can unleash a formidable line-up at Twickenham

England head coach Eddie Jones can unleash a formidable line-up at Twickenham

‘We’ve had two great years evolving as a bit of an unknown team,’ said Hartley. ‘People are aware now and we need to kick on. We’re not the surprise any more. Maybe we do have a target.

‘We want to win everything. In the past, we were too polite. We want to win every game. The belief’s 100 per cent there now that we can get to No 1 and that we can win a World Cup. If you don’t have these kind of goals, these dreams, I don’t think you’ve got any chance of achieving them.’

The two-year countdown to the World Cup is underway and England are expected to kick off with a big victory over the Pumas at Twickenham.

England captain Dylan Hartley knows the players are under pressure to make a statement

England captain Dylan Hartley knows the players are under pressure to make a statement

Assistant coach Paul Gustard last night stated that he wants to develop the best defence in the world — with rookie No 7 Sam Underhill ordered to lead the charge in the series opener.

‘I’ve told Eddie and I’ve told the team that I want the best defence in the world,’ said Gustard. ‘I imagine that Eddie wants me to deliver the best defensive team in the world.

‘Any team that wins the World Cup, apart from the last one when the best attack also won, has the best defence. Going into the World Cup we need to be bulletproof. We need to trust each other, have confidence, be adaptable, be confrontational and absorb pressure when our attack isn’t firing.

‘Sam will be a defensive leader for us this weekend. It’s important that he stamps some authority in that area though action and direction. There has been a consistent pattern of behaviour in his game and we expect that to go up another level.’

Henry Slade and George Ford will be charged with igniting a high-tempo off-loading game

Henry Slade and George Ford will be charged with igniting a high-tempo off-loading game

 

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