Dylan Hartley
Hartley made his international debut in 2008 but his disciplinary record makes him a controversial choice.Getty Images

Dylan Hartley has been appointed the new England rugby union captain by coach Eddie Jones. The 29-year-old beat out former skipper Chris Robshaw and Joe Launchbury to the position and will begin his tenure for the Six Nations opener against Scotland in Edinburgh on 6 February.

Hartley made his international debut in 2008 and has gone on to win 66 caps, establishing himself as the first-choice hooker alongside Tom Youngs. The Northampton Saints front-row forward missed the Rugby World Cup through suspension and has a lengthy disciplinary record.

Formerly of Worcester Warriors, Hartley has served six separate suspensions for on-field indiscretions, the latest of which came in May 2015 when he head-butted his Saracens opposite number Jamie George. Hartley was banned for four weeks for the episode, which saw him ruled out of the opening World Cup match against Fiji and eventually dropped from the squad.

"It is a huge honour to captain England and a very proud day for me and my family," Hartley said. "I'm really excited about the challenge ahead but in reality leading this squad of players will not fall just to me.

"It is essential for the success of this team that we quickly develop and establish a strong leadership group. There are a number of guys in this squad who will all have important leadership roles to play so we can take this team forward.

"There is a lot of young talent and potential, which is great to see. Our focus over the next two weeks is to work hard and prepare for the Scotland game. Playing at Murrayfield will be a huge challenge and one we are all looking forward to."

Following the selection of his first squad for the Six Nations, the appointment of Hartley represents the latest major decision taken by Jones – who has opted to overlook Robshaw, skipper under Stuart Lancaster's tenure. The Australian coach has identified Hartley's "aggressive and uncompromising approach" as the reason behind the decision.

"As a former captain of Northampton Saints and someone who has a lot of experience playing for England I have every faith he will lead the team tactically and passionately," he said. "English rugby is indebted to Northampton to have produced such a fine player.

"Dylan is an honest, hardworking bloke and I admire his aggressive and uncompromising approach to playing rugby. Together with [backroom staff members] Steve [Borthwick] and Paul [Gustard], we think he has all the qualities needed to lead this group of players. We look forward to working very closely with him to build a successful England team."