More sorrow for Saints as Harley is cited

Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley could face a lengthy ban after being cited for allegedly making contact with the eye areas of three Wasps players during last Sunday’s Guinness Premiership clash at Adams Park.

Hartley is set to line up against the same opponents in a Heineken Cup semi-final this weekend.

But his availability for that game rests on the outcome of an internal disciplinary hearing conducted by his club on Thursday evening.

Hooker Hartley, one of English rugby’s brightest front-row prospects, could be suspended from anything between 12 weeks and 18 months if found guilty.

The 21-year-old has an outside chance of making England’s two-Test South Africa tour next month, together with selection for their Rugby World Cup squad in France later this year.

But he Hartley has been reported by independent citing officer Alan Mansell for allegedly making illegal contact with his hand with the eye or eye areas of Wasps forwards Jonny O’Connor, Joe Worsley and James Haskell, contrary to Law 10.4 (k).

He has been summoned to appear before a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel in London next Tuesday, with the hearing chaired by RFU disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett.

The hearing is just four days before Saints play for their Guinness Premiership future, as defeat against Franklin’s Gardens visitors London Irish would probably see them relegated to National League One.

365 Digital

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