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Hartley set hearing date for alleged biting offence


England and Saints New Zealand born hooker Dylan Hartley

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Article Published: Friday 23 March 2012


England hooker Dylan Hartley will face a disciplinary hearing in London on March 27 over allegations he bit Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris in the Six Nations.

Hartley, 25, was cited following the alleged incident in the first half of England's 30-9 Six Nations victory over Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Northampton hooker remains suspended until he appears before the independent Six Nations disciplinary committee, which will be chaired by Roger Morris.

A biting offence carries a low-end entry point of a 12-week suspension, with 18 weeks for mid-range and 24-plus weeks at the top end in the International Rugby Board's disciplinary sanctions table.

If Hartley is banned, he could be ruled out of England's three-Test tour to South Africa in June.

Ferris was heard accusing an England player of biting during the match.

Biting is a red card offence but as neither referee Nigel Owens nor his touch judges saw the alleged incident, no action was taken during the game.

Owens, in a conversation recorded on his microphone in the 28th minute, told England captain Chris Robshaw and Ireland skipper Rory Best: "I have an accusation of biting, a clear mark on the finger.

"I did not see something. If I do it will be dealt with severely, which would be a red card. It could be dealt with afterwards. If it is seen it will be dealt (with). I did not see it."

Owens added: "Have a word. Nothing like that takes place in this game. I can only deal with what I see. Have a word, please."

As the packs then set-up for a scrum, Owens added: "This game is difficult enough without stuff like that, is that clear?"

Owens then approached Ferris, while the back-row forward was receiving treatment from Ireland's physiotherapist, and said: "I have done all I can. It has been noted. If I don't see it I can't do nothing about it.

"It has been spoken about and dealt with."

England's victory saw them finish second in the tournament, with Ireland in third place.

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