Six Nations: Dylan Hartley says Stuart Lancaster's faith justified

Dylan Hartley receives red
Ex-England captain Lewis Moody has said Hartley has seen a psychologist over "moments of red mist"
Six Nations 2015: Ireland v England
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Sunday 1 March Kick-off: 15:00 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, Radio 5 live, Radio Ulster FM, the BBC Sport website, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

Stuart Lancaster's decision not to drop Dylan Hartley for disciplinary problems has been justified by his England performances, according to the player.

The Northampton hooker was banned for the fifth time in December.

Lancaster spoke to Hartley ahead of the Six Nations and he has started both victories over Wales and Italy.

"It was said that Stuart had a perfect opportunity to drop me," said Hartley. "But I think I've given him reason to keep me here in the first two games."

Hartley said he "wasn't worried" about being left out of the squad, despite his latest sending off for an elbow against Leicester putting his total career suspensions at 50 weeks.

Asked by BBC Sport about his poor disciplinary record being an issue coming into the tournament, Hartley responded: "I've just gone and played, and it's questions like that, that keep that cloud hanging over me. So I'm just enjoying playing rugby and getting on with it.

Highlights: England 47-17 Italy

"There's a fine line and cards seem to find their way to me," said Hartley. "I'm well aware of that before I take the field.

"I understand what the perception of me is. Whenever I can, I change that. But unfortunately it's hard to change. And every now and then I give them something to keep that perception alive."

When asked what was said when he returned to the England camp in January, Hartley said: "Those chats between me and whoever I'm talking to stay between those walls."

Sunday's game against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium pits the competition's only unbeaten sides against each other.

Hartley - a losing Heineken Cup and Premiership finalist - pointed to "plenty of hurt" at club and country level, adding: "At some stage it has got to come right for this team. We have experienced a lot of near-misses so something has to come right soon."

Hartley's key misdemeanours
April 2007Banned for 26 weeks for eye-gouging Wasps forwards James Haskell and Jonny O'Connor.
March 2012Banned for eight weeks for biting Ireland forward Stephen Ferris.
December 2012Banned for two weeks for punching Ulster hooker Rory Best.
May 2013Sent off in the Premiership final and then banned for 11 weeks after being found guilty of abusing an official. Missed 2013 Lions tour.
December 2014Banned for three weeks for elbowing Leicester's Matt Smith.

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