Hartley will not appeal against 11-week suspension
Player had until yesterday morning to appeal
Dylan Hartley, the Northampton Saints captain who has been suspended for 11 weeks.
Dylan Hartley will not appeal against the 11-week suspension he received on Sunday for the red card he was shown in the Premiership final between Northampton and Leicester at Twickenham the day before for swearing at the referee, Wayne Barnes, and calling him a cheat.
Hartley had until yesterday morning to appeal. His decision means he will miss the Lions tour to Australia and not play again until next season. The Rugby Football Union released the written judgment of the panel that heard the Northampton hooker’s case. The panel was told Barnes had spoken to Hartley twice before he showed a red card. In his report, Barnes said: “I had called the player across and told him to think about the way he was speaking to me.”
Manu Tuilagi, like the five other Leicester players in the Lions squad, had little time to celebrate the Tigers’ victory over Northampton in Saturday’s Premiership final before joining with the tourists little more than 24 hours before they flew to Hong Kong. As soon as he arrived at the team hotel the England centre was given a crash course in the backline moves drawn up in the two weeks that the players who had not been involved in post-season finals were in camp with the Lions.
“It was a case of coming in and learning what you needed to know,” said Tuilagi. “I watched training on Sunday and the boys looked really sharp. It made you aware just how hard it will be to secure a Test place because of the talent we have. You have to be on your game the whole time, in training and in matches, and that is exactly the challenge I like taking on. Winning the final was a great way to end the campaign with Leicester, all the more so after losing the last two, and it meant I joined up happy and in good spirits.”
Tuilagi’s delight was tempered by the 11-week suspension handed out to the Northampton captain Dylan Hartley for shouting abuse at the referee Wayne Barnes during the final, a punishment that meant his Lions tour ended before it had started. “I feel sad for him,” said Tuilagi. “It is a missed opportunity for him, he must be absolutely gutted at the moment. You learn and move on.”