Dylan Hartley set to miss Lions tour after 11-week ban

Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley will miss the British and Irish Lions tour after being banned for 11 weeks

dylan hartley
Dylan Hartley will miss the British and Irish Lions tour The Sport Review

Dylan Hartley will miss the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia after the Northampton Saints captain received an 11-week ban for abusing a match official in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership final.

An RFU Disciplinary hearing met on Sunday to sanction the prop, who was found guilty of swearing and calling referee Wayne Barnes a “cheat” during the Saints’ 37-17 loss to Leicester Tigers at Twickenham.

At the hearing, Hartley, 27, pleaded not guilty but the panel found against him and issued an 11-week ban for the mid-range offence.

Warren Gatland had included Hartley in his 37-man travelling party, controversially leaving out Rory Best, but the prop will not tour as he is not permitted to play until 1 September.

Judge Blackett, who sat on the disciplinary committee, said: “We cannot get around the fact that Wayne Barnes was certain that Mr. Hartley’s comments were directed at him.

“Wayne Barnes said that if he had had any doubt in his mind, then he would have given the player the benefit of the doubt.

“In terms of sanction, calling a referee a cheat is an attack on his integrity and contrary to the core values of rugby and therefore we have taken a serious view and provided a serious sanction.”

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