Hartley banned for striking Best
Rugby:Northampton captain Dylan Hartley has received a two-week ban after being cited for foul play in a Heineken Cup game. The England international hooker was reported for striking his opposite number Rory Best during last Friday’s Pool Four encounter at Franklin’s Gardens.
Hartley will miss Saturday’s Ulster return fixture at Ravenhill, plus Northampton’s English Premiership appointment at home to Harlequins on December 22nd. In a statement, European Rugby Cup said Hartley pleaded guilty to the offence.
Hartley, 26, recently returned to action after missing England’s entire autumn series of tests through injury. Leicester’s Tom Youngs impressed as the starting hooker in his absence.
New Zealand-born Hartley has a chequered disciplinary history. He received a 26-week ban in 2007 after being found guilty of gouging two Wasps players in a Premiership match, and earlier this year he was cited for biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris during a Six Nations game that saw him land an eight-week suspension.
Northampton, now without Hartley, must beat Ulster this weekend to keep alive their fading Heineken Cup quarter-final hopes.
Wales international scrumhalf Lloyd Williams was banned for five weeks when he appeared at a disciplinary hearing in Dublin today. The Cardiff Blues player was sent off for a tip tackle on his opposite number, Montpellier’s Benoit Paillaugue, during a Heineken Cup clash last Sunday. Williams will be sidelined until January 14th.
And Newport Gwent Dragons flanker Jevon Groves was suspended for two weeks until December 24th. He was sent off in the Dragons’ Amlin Challenge Cup fixture against Italian side Mogliano last weekend for a tip tackle, but Summers amended the offence to that of a dangerous tackle.