The appointment of Dylan Hartley as the new England Rugby captain sends out all the wrong messages to those who play the game, especially all the thousands of impressionable school kids up and down the country.

His endorsement by the RFU and and Eddie Jones will be sending a message that simply put states:
“it’s OK to lack discipline and control, it’s OK to lose your temper, it’s OK to phsyically, purposefully hurt your opponent, it’s OK to abuse the referee….you too could one day be England Captain”

My concern is for the hundreds, if not thousands, of club volunteers who will now be faced with trying to teach their charges to ignore this endorsement of illegal behaviour (some of these incidents would result in a custodial sentence if carried out outside a pub on a Saturday night) and try and continue to coach players to be better players and better people.

I have written before about why I though it was wrong for England FA to appoint a captain who had undertaken a drug ban, and another captain who has the worst disciplinary record of any England international footballer.

I never imagined that the RFU would stoop so low as well.

Cricket seems to be able to manage to drop players because of their off-field behind the scenes behaviour, why can’t out other national sports?

As I embark on my journey into amateur sports coaching (I recently started along the path to become a junior cricket coach) I’m as intrigued in developing good sportsmanship as I am in developing cricket talent – probably because I never played competitive cricket!

I look at the sport that I played since I was a child, golf, it’s given me so much, as have all the pro’s that I had the pleasure to meet and work within my formative years, the likes of Barry Lane, Tim Barter, Geoff Legouix and Roger Mace. They taught me how to hold a club and to strike a ball, but perhaps more importantly, they also taught me how to be a golfer.

Those lessons were lessons for life. Making me a better player, and a better person. It’s a huge responsibility, that was not taken lightly by all those involved.

This attitude towards the coaching of young people pervades to this day, on playing fields and in sports halls across the country, on wintry evenings and sunny weekend mornings. But it’s not helped in any shape or form, when the powers at the top of a sport forget their grass roots responsibilities.

I hope that the current discussion surrounding the rights and wrongs of appointing Dylan Hartley, the man, not the player, as England Rugby captain, will serve to strengthen, not weaken the importance of coaching players to play better and to be better people.