Hartley to miss England’s World Cup opener

England and Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley will miss England’s build up to the Rugby World Cup and their first match after being suspended for four weeks for a head butt..

Hartley faced a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing after being cited for a headbutt in his team’s Semi-final loss to Saracens and has been suspended from playing for four weeks.

Hartley, who pleaded guilty to striking an opponent with his head, contrary to Law 10.4(a), during the Premiership semi-final match between Northampton Saints and Saracens at the weekend, is free to play again on September 21, 2015.

His suspension commences on August 15 as Northampton Saints season ended with the loss to Saracens.

England’s first match in the Rugby World Cup is on September the 18th so Hartley will miss that match and their world cup warm ups.

HHJ Sean Enright, who chaired the hearing alongside Mike Hamlin and Tony Wheat, said: “This offence falls within the low entry point for striking with the head. “

“There was no significant injury to the other party, the opposition player was not removed from the field of play and the incident did not affect the game. “

“However, there cannot be any place in our game for this class of behaviour, and that is why we have imposed this sanction.”

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