Rugby

England hooker to hear fate

2014-12-22 21:52
Dylan Hartley (Getty Images)

London - Northampton captain Dylan Hartley could be facing another lengthy suspension after he was summoned on Monday to face a disciplinary hearing in London after his dismissal for elbowing Leicester's Matt Smith.

The 28-year-old was sent off following his clash with Smith at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday and the England hooker could miss at least the start of England's Six Nations campaign following the latest episode in a career scarred by repeated disciplinary episodes.

In a statement, the Rugby Football Union said: "Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) will have his case heard by an RFU disciplinary judicial officer on Tuesday, December 23.

"Hartley was sent off in the Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers for striking Matt Smith with his elbow, contrary to Law 10.4(a).

"The case will be heard tomorrow evening in London by Jeremy Summers sitting as a sole judicial officer at a time to be confirmed."

Hartley was handed a 26-week ban for eye-gouging in 2007, and an 11-week suspension for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes during the 2013 Premiership final against Leicester.

That latter ban led to him missing the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia, and the RFU could easily take a dim view of his latest indiscretion in the 17th minute of Northampton's 23-19 win at the weekend.

Referee J P Doyle initially seemed happy to award Hartley a yellow card, but television match official Sean Davey urged Doyle to watch further replays, and he responded by sending 61 times-capped Hartley off.

England open their Six Nations campaign against Wales in Cardiff on February 6, and given Hartley's poor record - biting and punching offences also appear on his charge-sheet - another lengthy suspension appears likely.

Read more on:    dylan hartley  |  rugby
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