Dylan Hartley to undergo a "game simulation" in bid to prove Six Nations fitness

The England captain is currently serving a six-week ban

Dylan Hartley to undergo a "game simulation" in bid to prove Six Nations fitness

Picture by Andrew Matthews PA Archive/PA Images

There is just over two-and-a-half weeks left until the start of the Six Nations.

Ireland travel to Scotland in the opening match of the tournament, but the feature match of the weekend sees England begin their Grand Slam defence at home to France in Twickenham.

Last year, England captain Dylan Hartley led the team to an unbeaten year, winning all 12 of their matches, including a 3-0 series whitewash away to Australia. Hartley has not played since December, after being sent off against Leinster in a Champions Cup match.

The England captain faces a race to feature in the February 4th match at Twickenham, and according to The Telegraph, he must undergo a "game simulation" on Wednesday in a bid to feature in the first Test match of the year.

"That means he does a session that’s the equivalent of a game", England head coach Eddie Jones revealed. "A Test game of rugby is approximately 36 minutes of ball in play. You have to run around 120 metres per minute, that’s the average speed. He’s got to be able to do a session of that quality and if he can do a session of that quality he can do a game."

"We’ll decide on Wednesday one minute after he’s done the session because we’re going to name the squad on Friday. We’ve got the Six Nations launch next Wednesday so we need to name it then."

"I’m anticipating him to go well because all his training parameters are good so far. It’s like having a racehorse that does trials – if they run fast in the trials there’s a good chance they’re going to run fast in the race."

Harley's six-week ban means he will have played just six minutes of competitive club rugby, since England's last match last December. Over the course of his career, the hooker has now been banned for a total of 60-weeks.

Despite the ban, Jones confirmed that Hartley's position as captain is not under threat due to his disciplinary indiscretions.