England hooker Dylan Hartley has been hit with an eight week ban for his bite on Ireland’s Stephen Ferris during their St Patrick’s Day Six Nations game at Twickenham.
The 26 year old will now miss a large chunk of his Northampton’s run in, however he will be free to play in the Aviva Premiership final, should Northampton reach that stage
While the bite went unpunished at the time, Hartley was cited after the game and the Six Nations Disciplinary Committee deemed that his offence was at the lower end of the scale.
In a statement released by them on Tuesday afternoon they said “The Disciplinary Committee considered the available evidence before them and listened to the player, his legal representative, as well as Jim Mallinder (Director of Rugby, Northampton) and Graham Rowntree (Forwards Coach, England).
“The Disciplinary Committee also listened to the evidence of Stephen Ferris by video link. The Disciplinary Committee, in upholding the citing for foul play, decided that the offence merited a low entry point in the IRB’s table of sanctions and allowed mitigation of four weeks.”
A disappointed Hartley said of the findings ” I am disappointed by the result and I will wait for the written judgment as to how the panel came to their conclusion.
” I now have to put it behind me and focus on supporting Saints in training and off the field.”