They couldn't, could they?
According to the BBC, it's as good as done. Dylan Hartley really is going to be named England's new captain to replace Chris Robshaw. England's new coach Eddie Jones had made it clear that Robshaw would not remain in the position given that he was unsure if there was a place for him the squad. That's obviously led the former Japan coach to take a look around for alternatives and he's come up with Dylan Hartley.
As you may remember, the Northampton hooker wasn't even included in Stuart Lancaster's World Cup squad given his horrendous disciplinary record. Hartley was suspended for four weeks in May after headbutting Jamie George, the man who then went on to replace him in the England squad. And now he's going to be their captain.
As Irish fans, we must admit it's a decision that has got us looking forward to seeing exactly what will come of it. It's distinctly possible it could be the catalyst for Hartley turning a corner in terms of his discipline but, at 29, history isn't exactly on his side.
It's an appointment that England's rivals will certain take some pleasure in particularly when you see that the initial reaction from England fans is not overly positive.
Hartley's bans amount to over A YEAR. Yeah you're right, that's *perfect* captain material. FFS.
— Oli Pendrey (@oli_pendrey) December 17, 2015
Dylan Hartley as captain?! Is he bonkers?! The man's a liability... He'll probably be banned from playing again in his first match.
— Kristy Shaw (@KristyShaw) December 17, 2015
— James Laurence (@_jameslt) December 17, 2015
Dylan Hartley? No thanks. A captain is meant to lead by example. Three bans totalling 54 weeks is not particularly ideal
— JJF (@joshjf93) December 17, 2015
I really hope Dylan Hartley isn't @EnglandRugby captain, he will just get sent off and we'll be screwed. Just choose literally anyone else!
— Alec Houston (@alecwh22) December 17, 2015
— Simon Sapper (@simonsapper) December 17, 2015
I was positive about Eddie Jones leading England but if rumours are true & he's picking Hartley as Captain he's gone down in my estimation!
— Kate Martin (@KateLMartin1) December 17, 2015
We're thoroughly looking forward to seeing how this plays out.