Suspended Hartley to miss Lions tour

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    Northampton captain Dylan Hartley will miss the British and Irish Lions’ tour to Australia after being hit with an 11-week ban for verbally abusing a match official.

    England hooker Hartley was sent off for allegedly calling referee Wayne Barnes a “f****** cheat” just before halftime in Leicester’s 37-17 victory against his club in the Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday.

    The 27-year old had his case heard by a Rugby Football Union (RFU) panel headed by Judge Jeff Blackett on Sunday.

    The RFU confirmed their suspension rules Hartley out of the forthcoming Lions tour, although he does have the right of appeal, with Ireland’s Rory Best called up to replace him in Warren Gatland’s squad that leaves for Australia on Monday.

    “We cannot get around the fact that Wayne Barnes was certain that Mr Hartley’s comments were directed at him,” Judge Blackett said.

    “Wayne Barnes said that if he had had any doubt in his mind, then he would have given the player the benefit of the doubt.

    “In terms of sanction, calling a referee a cheat is an attack on his integrity and contrary to the core values of rugby and therefore we have taken a serious view and provided a serious sanction.”

    Hartley has been the subject of three previous bans. In 2007, he was sidelined for six months for gouging and in 2012 was on the wrong end of suspensions for punching and biting.

    Yet he was still supported by Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder after this latest incident.

    “If you talk like that to a player then you wouldn’t expect anything to happen,” Mallinder said. “Clearly, Wayne Barnes believes that Dylan has spoken to him, and that’s why he has given him the red card.

    “I’ll support Dylan. He’s my captain and if he said he wasn’t speaking to the referee and was speaking to the player on the floor, then I can only support my skipper in what he says.”

    However, the RFU panel took a less lenient view of Hartley’s behaviour and were quick to hand out a suspension that leaves him on the sidelines until September.

    “Dylan Hartley has been suspended for 11 weeks following an RFU Disciplinary hearing today,” the organisation confirmed in a statement.

    “The hooker was sent off for abusing a match official, contrary to Law 10(4)(s) and (m) in Saturday’s Premiership final against Leicester Tigers at Twickenham Stadium.

    “At the hearing he pleaded not guilty but the panel found him guilty and determined that this was mid-range on the scale of seriousness.

    “The entry point for mid-range is a suspension of twelve weeks and that was reduced by one week to reflect his good conduct at the hearing.

    “He is suspended from today (May 26) until July 6 and from August 17 to August 31 and free to play again on September 1.

    “In accordance with the Lion tour agreement the six-week tour of Australia represents eight of the 11 weeks suspension because of the tour schedule. The remaining three weeks of the suspension cover three of Northampton Saints’ pre-season matches.”

    Best, who had been appointed Ireland captain for the forthcoming tour of north America, will link up with the Lions ahead of their flight to Hong Kong.

    The Lions play their first match against the Barbarians next Saturday.

    © AFP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (14)

    • Roar Guru

      May 27th 2013 @ 8:21am
      Wally James said | May 27th 2013 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      A week off for good conduct at the hearing? Consistent with their finding that Hartley did not direct his comments to a team mate but to the Ref, would be the finding that he lied to the Judiciary about that.

      Earlier reports had Dylan saying “You are a f****** cheat”. If he was talking to another player he would have said “He is…..” not “You are…”. He had been warned by Barnes not two minutes before to stop directing comments at the ref. That also is consistent with the finding he continued to talk to the ref. And then there was Barne’s evidence about it. He was adamant Dylan directed his comments at him. It did not benefit Barnes to make such an allegation. It was clearly self interest which could motivate someone to explain it as Dylan did. The overwhelming evidence is that he lied to the Judiciary. What good conduct?

      He should have his sentence increased for lieing, if not for his stupidity in believing a Judiciary would swallow such a weak and improbable story. In any event his history shows he has no respect for the game. That would not appear to have been taken into accoount in determining his sentence. An eye gouging, biting ref abuser should have been dealt with more strongly than that I think.

    • May 27th 2013 @ 8:40am
      mania said | May 27th 2013 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      oh goody. guess the english are learning all about barnes now. well you’d have to tell them to get over it

      • May 27th 2013 @ 9:17am
        Red Kev said | May 27th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        Wasn’t Hartley born in NZ? Only natural he’d hate Wayne Barnes.

    • May 27th 2013 @ 9:37am
      rae1 said | May 27th 2013 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      The guy is a thug and deserves what is coming to him,quite ironic that it is his mouth that has ruined his representative career.He may be NZ born but as far as Im concerned once you represent another country you are 100% from there.That goes for all the other NZ players who couldnt make the ABs.Good riddence.

      • May 27th 2013 @ 10:12am
        Colin N said | May 27th 2013 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        Hartley left at 16, you don’t know whether he would or would not make the All Blacks.

        • May 27th 2013 @ 1:45pm
          rae1 said | May 27th 2013 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

          At 16 top young rugby players are already identified and singled out as up and coming players in NZ and I dont recall his name being bandied around as a contender during Sec School Comps (that was before live TV when we had to travel to watch the boys)So No I dont know if he would ever had made the ABs,but he certainly didnt hang around to find out.I repeat GOOD RIDDENCE!

          • May 27th 2013 @ 7:32pm
            Bakkies said | May 27th 2013 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

            His parents might have made the choice and didn’t have the funds to stick him in a NZ boarding school.

    • May 27th 2013 @ 9:55am
      Atawhai Drive said | May 27th 2013 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Any lawyers out there? If, hypothetically, Wayne Barnes had decided to take the extra step and sue Dylan Hartley for slander, what would be his prospects of success? Would the courts decide that the matter was sufficiently dealt with by rugby’s own judicial process?

      • May 27th 2013 @ 12:27pm
        nickoldschool said | May 27th 2013 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

        Objection your honor!

        Overruled.

      • May 27th 2013 @ 6:42pm
        Charlie Mackay said | May 27th 2013 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

        With Wayne Barnes being a barrister himself, he would probably know his chances….

    • May 27th 2013 @ 10:04am
      Worlds Biggest said | May 27th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      This has actually strengthened the Lions as Best is a much better player and should have been originally selected.

      • May 27th 2013 @ 10:58am
        DJW said | May 27th 2013 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        I agree. I was cursing when I heard Best was now in.

        I will do the same if O’Brien comes in for Warbuton.

        • Roar Guru

          May 27th 2013 @ 11:02am
          Atawhai Drive said | May 27th 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          DJW, O’Brien and Warburton are both in the squad.

    • May 27th 2013 @ 2:03pm
      Peepers said | May 27th 2013 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

      That’s 45-62k GB pounds down the toilet, now that’s an expensive holiday.

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