Saint Hartley faces another citing
Rugby:England forward Dylan Hartley has been cited for alleged foul play during Northampton's Heineken Cup defeat against Ulster last Friday night. The Saints skipper has been reported by match commissioner Jean-Claude Legendre for striking opposite number, Ulster and Ireland hooker Rory Best with his arm.
No date has yet been set for Hartley's disciplinary hearing.
"Hartley is alleged to have struck Ulster Rugby forward Rory Best with his arm during the second half of the match at Franklin's Gardens," ERC said in a statement this evening. "Details of the hearing date and the appointed independent judicial officer will be announced shortly."
Hartley has only recently returned to action after suffering an injury that sidelined him from England's autumn Test campaign and now faces the prospect of missing the game between the two sides at Ravenhill on Saturday, at least.
Recommended International Rugby Board sanctions for striking with the fist or arm range from a two-week ban at the low end to a maximum 52 weeks.
Northampton are facing elimination at the pool stage following the 25-6 defeat at Franklin's Gardens, in which Ulster ran in four tries. In Belfast, Saints will need a win against the unbeaten province to keep alive their slim quarter-final hopes.
Hartley (26) has a poor disciplinary record.
He was banned for 26 weeks in April 2007 after being found guilty of eye-gouging Wasps players James Haskell and Jonny O'Connor. It was a punishment that dashed his hopes of being part of England's World Cup campaign in France later that year.
Earlier this year, he was banned for eight weeks after being cited for biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris during a Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
If Hartley is banned for the Best incident, it could also jeopardise his chances of reclaiming the England hooking berth that was impressively filled by Leicester's Tom Youngs during the autumn games. England kick off their Six Nations campaign against Scotland at Twickenham on February 2nd.