Dylan Hartley will captain England for the third and final test against South Africa on Saturday following an injury to skipper Chris Robshaw.The Harlequins back row cracked the bone of his right thumb in last weekend’s 36-27 defeat to the Spingboks in Johannesburg.
That has ruled Robshaw out of the last test of the series, with England head coach Stuart Lancaster turning to Northampton Saints hooker Hartley to lead the team out.
Lancaster said: “Chris, as you would imagine, is devastated. He has led us superbly in the last seven internationals and been one of our standout performers.
"But the medical advice is that he should not play and we have to trust that expert opinion.
“Dylan Hartley will captain the side. He has been a key part of our leadership group and I know he will step up to the task on Saturday.”
Hartley has been captain of the Saints for the past three seasons, as well as establishing himself as England’s first choice hooker in recent years.
He is the first Northampton player to captain the national team in a full test match since Matt Dawson, who led the side nine times between 1998 and 2001.
Meanwhile, Saints scrum half Lee Dickson will start England’s tour game against the South African Northern Barbarians in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.
Prop Paul Doran Jones also retains his place in the midweek side, having played against the Southern Barbarians last week.