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England boss keeps faith with Hartley

Stuart Lancaster Credit: PA

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said Dylan Hartley has made the elite squad due to his contrition.

Hartley, 27, is currently serving an 11 week suspension for verbally abusing a referee. Thbe suspension meant he missed the historic British Lions tour to Australia.

Lancaster says he has discussed the matter with Hartley.

"I had a long hard think about it and a long conversation with him. I wanted to be reassured that he understands where the line is, what is right and what is wrong.

"He accepts that and knows he needs a strong start to the season with Northampton as changes can be made with Rob Webber and David Paice pushing hard.

"Unfortunately, we can only have 33 in the Senior EPS but those who just missed out have plenty to offer.

"They are still very much in the international picture and there is flexibility built into the system that facilitates that."


Saints' sinner Hartley makes England elite squad

Dylan Hartley - retains England place Credit: PA

Northampton Saints Dylan Hartley has retained his place in England's senior elite player squad.

Lancaster's patience with Hartley has yet to be exhausted despite the Northampton hooker being suspended until September 1 for his latest encounter with the disciplinary authorities.

Hartley received an 11-week ban after he was sent off for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes in last season's Aviva Premiership final.

Dylan Hartley's troubled disciplinary record

This is not the first time Northampton captain Dylan Hartley has been suspended.

Hartley's disciplinary record is long and includes incidents of eye-gouging, biting and punching, as detailed here:

  • April 2007 - Banned for 26 weeks for eye-gouging Wasps forwards James Haskell and Jonny O'Connor.
  • March 2012 - Banned for eight weeks for biting Ireland forward Stephen Ferris in a Six Nations match.
  • December 2012 - Banned for two weeks for punching Ulster hooker Rory Best in a Heineken Cup match.
  • May 2013 - Sent off in the Aviva Premiership final and banned for 11 weeks after being found guilty of verbally abusing a match official.


Full Lions Squad for Australia tour

The full 37-man British and Irish Lions squad is: L Halfpenny, S Hogg, R Kearney, G North, A Cuthbert, T Bowe, S Maitland, B O'Driscoll, M Tuilagi, J Roberts, J Davies, J Sexton, O Farrell,

C Murray, M Phillips, B Youngs, G Jenkins, C Healy, M Vunipola, A Jones, D Cole, M Stevens, D Hartley, R Hibbard, T Youngs, I Evans, R Gray, AW Jones, P O'Connell, G Parling, T Croft, T Faletau, J Heaslip, D Lydiate, S O'Brien, J Tipuric, S Warburton (capt).

Saints captain Dylan Hartley suspended

Northampton Saints will be without their captain Dylan Hartley for the next two weeks through suspension.

The England hooker was cited for allegedly striking Ulster player Rory Best during last Friday's Heineken Cup game at Franklin's Gardens. Hartley pleaded guilty at a disciplinary hearing in Dublin today.

The judicial officer determined that the offence was at the low-end entry point of two weeks.

Hartley will miss the return Heineken Cup Pool 4 fixture in Belfast on Saturday, but will be available to play from December 24.

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