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From Saint to sinner: Dylan Hartley's red card threatens captaincy dream

Northampton Saints' Dylan Hartley is shown a red card Credit: PA

Dylan Hartley lasted just six minutes off the bench after he was red-carded in Northampton Saints' 37-10 defeat to Leinster in the European Rugby Champions Cup at Franklin's Gardens.

Leinster thumped Northampton Saints 37-10 in the European Rugby Champions Cup at Franklin's Gardens Credit: PA

The England captain, who is no stranger to controversy in his career, was sent off after 58 minutes for a swinging arm to the back of the head of Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien.

The incident could have blown his chance of captaining the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand next summer.

54
Number of weeks Dylan Hartley has spent on the sidelines through suspension

The 30-year-old has served 54 weeks of bans during his career for offences which include eye-gouging, biting, head-butting and swearing at a referee.

England captain Dylan Hartley was sent off just six minutes after coming on Credit: PA

He looked to have turned over a new leaf since being given the England armband by Eddie Jones.

But his latest indiscretion not only left his club in the lurch, but overturned that reputation as a reformed character.

Head coach Jim Mallinder offered no sympathy to Hartley Credit: PA

Head coach Jim Mallinder offered no consolation.

You can't strike to the head. We've seen enough of them over the last few weeks and I think it was a red card.

Dylan has been playing really well and leading England by example, so it was disappointing on returning from England and doing such a good job that that happens.

– Jim Mallinder, Director of Rugby
Saints' George Pisi was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Nacewa Credit: PA

Saints finished the match with 13 men after replacement forward George Pisi was yellow-carded for a high tackle.

It tops a difficult week for the Saints after their handling of a head injury suffered by George North at Leicester last week came under severe scrutiny.