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Hartley confirms he will not turn his back on international rugby

The Rugby World Cup 2015 will kick off in just three months’ time, and already we’re seeing a few controversies regarding the England World Cup team.

Just a few weeks after Stuart Lancaster revealed the official England World Cup team, the head coach is already having to make a few changes, one of which will affect local Northampton fans.

Following allegations of foul play in the Premier League, Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley has now been removed from the World Cup squad, shortly after receiving a four-week ban from the game.

The 29-year-old was seen having an altercation with Jamie George which led to a head-butt during the Aviva Premiership Semi Final against the Saracens on 23rd May. A hearing at the Coventry Holiday Inn on 27th May saw Hartley receiving a four-game ban, which will begin officially on 15th August, ending on 21st September.

Hartley pleaded guilty to striking an opponent with his head, which contravenes Law 10.4 (a). HHJ Sean Enright said at the ruling: “This offence falls within the low entry point for striking with the head.

“There was no significant injury to the other party, the opposition player was not removed from the field of play and the incident did not affect the game. However, there cannot be any place in our game for this class of behaviour, and that is why we have imposed this sanction.”

Speaking about his ban, Hartley told The Sun he was “gutted” to miss the World Cup. He said: “I've been unlucky with getting it wrong on the big stage a few times now. Maybe it's down to emotions?

“I feel I can still contribute and as long as Stuart Lancaster thinks that too, that's all that matters. I need to channel my hurt into training because, when the World Cup starts, I need to be in a good place fitness-wise in case of injuries.”

However, the star, who has 66 international caps, insisted that he would not be retiring from playing international rugby. He said: “There is no truth in the speculation I may quit international rugby.”

If he wants to prosper however, it may just be time for Hartley to get his emotions in check. For Lancaster, there was no question about banning Hartley, who has been banned six times previously throughout his rugby career. He said: “There comes a point with a player when you think, actually, this message isn’t really getting through.

“He is going to suffer a huge price now.”









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