England hooker Dylan Hartley vows to curb his volatile temperament
Last Updated: January 28, 2013 11:35am
England hooker Dylan Hartley is determined to mend his ways as he looks to secure his place in the Six Nations side.
The Northampton player was forced to miss the autumn internationals through injury and is keen to earn a recall for the opening match of the tournament against Scotland on 2 February.
But it is Hartley's temperament that has caused concern in the past, with the 26-year-old serving bans for gouging in 2007 and for biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris in last year's Six Nations.
"I understand that trust can only go so far. I wouldn't expect them to stand by me if I continued to break that trust."
Hartley has been working with psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters to help him remain calm under pressure but he admits he will only be given a limited number of chances by the England management team.
"It has been addressed by all the coaches - they've had a word with me. There will come a point when they can't stand by me" said Hartley.
"They have put faith in me, especially people like Graham (Rowntree) and Stuart (Lancaster), who have said some good things about me. They have stood by me.
"I understand that trust can only go so far. I wouldn't expect them to stand by me if I continued to break that trust. It has been addressed by the coaches."
Hartley feels he has made progress under Peters though and is focusing more on his matchday planning.
"This is an ongoing thing for me. It goes back to what Steve Peters told me - that every week has to be the same preparation," added Hartley.
"There are all these things you do before a game: analysis, training, meetings - all the rugby stuff - and for me there is the mental build-up. On my recent ban I completely forgot about that.
"I have a pretty little colour-chart (in my head) which describes this for me. It is to stop you acting on emotion without thinking."
Leicester's Tom Youngs impressed in place of Hartley during the autumn but Hartley is hopeful his standing within the team will help earn him the No 2 jersey for the Six Nations.
"I have a bit of experience within the team. The coaches know what I can do," he said. "I have performed for them before and hopefully there is a bit of credit in the bank.
"I have to come back into the fold, not try too hard, go about my normal ways, train well and be a good influence around the team. It is about reminding him (Lancaster) of me."