Hartley brimming with confidence

AFC Cup 2019: Hà Nội FC 3-2 Altyn Asyr FK (Nguyễn Văn Quyết Penalty 87′)

England captain Dylan Hartley said his team-mates should be confident ahead of Sunday's Six Nations clash against Italy in Rome.

Hartley led England to victory in their opener against Scotland and is in a positive mood for the encounter with the Azzurri.

"In training I’ve been drilling it into the guys, why shouldn’t we be confident?," Hartley told the RFU website.

"We are the best players in England. We have great resources and coaching and together we are a good team.

"We should always be confident no matter who we play because we have good players.

"It’s about getting everyone on the same page and doing the right things, the basics well and managing situations when they present themselves.

"I’ve always been confident."

Hartley said he was impressed with Italy's performance against France in Paris in which they were narrowly beaten but says England should focus more on themselves rather than their opposition.

"Italy put in a strong performance, the fact they were in it until the last kick of the game is testament to them," he explained.

"They are a side who should be respected but I don’t want to get too caught up in talking about them because we have to be confident, we are a good side with good players and are coached unbelievably well.

"We are well prepared."

Hooker Hartley had a 93% success rate on his own throw in the line out at Murrayfield, with 14 out of 15, but says under the guidance of new forwards coach Steve Borthwick they are aiming for perfection.

"I under threw one and (lock) George Kruis managed to tap back two of my perfect throws, we want perfection," he added.

"We want 100% so even just tapping the ball back is not enough.

"It’s got to be delivered well.

"First weekend we were 90% which is good, same of the scrum we always have something to work on."

Hartley does concede England gave away too many penalties against Scotland and sees that as an area to improve on against Italy.

"We were too slow at the ruck and when you are too slow you are penalised," he said.

"We have to focus on that. We were sloppy at the breakdown."