Six Nations: Dylan Hartley offers encouragement to David Wilson ahead of Wales showdown
Dylan Hartley has called on England's pack to rally around David Wilson in Sunday's Six Nations clash with Wales.
Last Updated: 05/03/14 1:27pm
Wilson excelled against Ireland last month in only his second start since December following his recovery from a calf injury.
The tighthead prop held his own in the scrum against Cian Healy as England ground out a 13-10 victory, although the physical exertions took their toll on the Bath forward.
"Davey did really well against (Ireland prop) Cian Healy and I cannot repeat what I was saying into his ear!" Hartley said. "I could hear him breathing like a beached whale at each scrum!
"He's a great player and has been waiting for his chance and his work rate was really good. The tighthead is the cornerstone of your scrum and you have to rally around him."
Hartley has been one of England's most impressive performers in the Six Nations as he continues to revive his career after a series of disciplinary issues.
The Northampton hooker missed out on a place in the British and Irish Lions squad after he was sent off for abusing referee Wayne Barnes in last May's Aviva Premiership final defeat to Leicester.
The subsequent 11-week ban threatened to end his international career, but he has worked hard to control his emotions on the pitch.
"I have been banned four times and I put things into a box and put them away. You should see my storage unit, it's massive!" Hartley said.
"You just get on with things. What else are you supposed to do?"
Forwards coach Graham Rowntree paid tribute to Hartley's contributution to the England cause this season, insisting he was one of the most influential players in the squad.
"I'm proud of way he has bounced back. He's an important figure in this camp. He is showing great leadership," Rowntree said.
"I'm proud of the way he got over the summer, the way he has played since, the way he has led his club, how he is around our group and the humility he has shown.
"He has got over what happened. That's the big story out of this. He has got over it and he has grown and grown."
Hartley's Lions place went to Richard Hibbard, and he is looking forward to taking on his Wales counterpart at Twickenham this weekend.
"I know what Richard is like off the pitch. He has a family, a business and lovely hair," Hartley joked.
"He is a fantastic player and a big hitter with his tackles."