England hookerDylan Hartley suspended for three weeks

Northampton star picks up another ban – this time for elbowing Leicester’s Matt Smith

Leinster outhalf  Jimmy Gopperth: could be on his way to Wasps.  Photo:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

Leinster outhalf Jimmy Gopperth: could be on his way to Wasps. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images

 

Northampton’s England hooker Dylan Hartley has been suspended for three weeks for elbowing Leicester’s Matt Smith in a Premiership match.

Hartley, who was sent off after 17 minutes following the off-the-ball incident, is banned until January 11th which means he can play in England’s Six Nations campaign which starts against Wales on February 6th as they build up for the World Cup.

“The sanction reflects the low end entry point of the offence, which carries a two-week tariff,” RFU judicial officer Jeremy Summers said.

“The entry point was aggravated having regard to Dylan’s previous record and a week was taken off to reflect mitigating circumstances.

“As such the sanction reflects the player’s record rather than the seriousness of the offence itself.”

Hartley has been banned for a total of 50 weeks in his playing career, with previous offences including gouging, biting and verbally abusing a referee.

Wasps’ director of rugby Dai Young has admitted Leinster’s Jimmy Gopperth could replace Andy Goode as the club’s frontline outhalf next season.

Young confirmed Wasps are in talks with former Newcastle playmaker Gopperth, and expects his recruitment drive to be complete by the end of January.

“Absolutely Jimmy Gopperth is in the mix,” said Young. “There are a number of high-profile 10s that are available this year, and that’s all part of the bigger picture. ”

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