Dylan Hartley recovers from concussion but faces fitness battle ahead of new season

Dylan Hartley is back from concussion but faces a race against time to be fit for the new Premiership season. Marc Atkins/Getty Images

England captain Dylan Hartley has recovered from a concussion that sidelined him since March but still has work to do to be fit for the start of the Premiership season, the national team's forwards coach Steve Borthwick has said.

Hooker Hartley, 32, suffered a head injury in the Six Nations defeat by Ireland in March which saw him miss the end of the Premiership season and pull out of England's three-test tour of South Africa.

He has now passed all protocols allowing him to return to play after medics advised he take an extended break form the game.

After Hartley trained at England's camp Saturday and completed a strength and conditioning session Sunday, Borthwick said the player was going through the process of building his fitness back up after a lengthy absence.

"For any player who has a good spell out of the game for whatever reason, there's always a progression through the different aspects of the game to be physically prepared," Borthwick said.

"He's come into the camp incredibly enthusiastic. He's enjoying being here and it looks like he enjoys being back on a rugby field."

Northampton Saints face Gloucester in their league opener on Sept. 1, while England play South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia in November internationals.

Borthwick also re-affirmed his commitment to England after he was approached by Ulster to take over their head coach role during the summer.

The forwards coach will join head coach Eddie Jones and scrum coach Neal Hatley on a 12-day trip to Japan to prepare for next year's World Cup.