Hartley set to lead England at Six Nations despite Samoa omission

It marks the first time Hartley has been dropped by Jones, but the Australian insisted that, as long as his disciplinary record remains clean with Northampton Saints beforehand, the 31-year-old will lead England in their bid for a third successive Six Nations title. 

But against Samoa, George Ford and Chris Robshaw will serve as co-captains, with England hoping to claim their 200th win at Twickenham on Saturday.

"We want to test our ability, if Dylan's not available, to put a team on the field and have leadership density," Jones said.

Touch and go for Hartley to make Lions

The BBC is reporting lock Joe Launchbury and centre Jonathan Joseph are both in danger of being shock exclusions from Warren Gatland's squad.

While England's New Zealand born captain Dylan Hartley's chances are rated as 50-50.

About 14 Englishmen are expected to be included.

Rookie prop Kyle Sinckler and centre Ben Te'o look likely to make the cut.

Gatland is set to name his squad of 37-39 players tomrrow night.

Gatland and his coaches will meet for a final selection meeting on Tuesday, with Lions sources insisting nothing is yet set in stone.