The Rugby Football Union has issued a statement about the 11 week suspension of Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley.
His plea of not guilty to swearing at ref Wayne Barnes was overruled by the panel. His suspension of 12 weeks was reduced by one to reflect his good conduct at the hearing.
– Judge Jeff Blackett
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.”