Updated: 26/05/2013 13:29 | By pa.press.net

Saints rally round Hartley



Dylan Hartley is waiting to find out whether his Lions ambitions have gone up in smoke

Dylan Hartley is waiting to find out whether his Lions ambitions have gone up in smoke

Dylan Hartley has been described as "an inspirational leader" ahead of the disciplinary hearing that will decide his British and Irish Lions fate.

The Northampton captain is charged with alleged verbal abuse of referee Wayne Barnes during yesterday's Aviva Premiership final against Leicester at Twickenham.

Hartley, who was sent off, could land a minimum six-week ban. He is currently part of a 37-man Lions squad that will leave London for Hong Kong on Monday. Barnes brandished a red card after Hartley allegedly called him a "f****** cheat" just before half-time of a game that Leicester won 37-17.

Hartley faced a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing on Sunday, chaired by Judge Jeff Blackett, but Northampton players and coaches have rallied behind the 43 times capped England forward, who has served three suspensions of varying lengths for different offences during the past six years.

"We are all behind Dylan - he is our captain and our leader," Saints fly-half Stephen Myler said. "He is an inspirational leader, he leads by what he does. He's an intensive guy, he gets himself around the pitch and shows us the way. Dylan has been at the club for a long time now, and he is captain for a reason. I don't think he is a malicious player, and fingers crossed it's not too bad for him."

Barnes awarded Leicester a scrum during first-half injury time after Myler's 22-metre drop-out went straight into touch. The scrum then collapsed, Saints were penalised and Hartley made his alleged remark.

"The reaction at half-time, when we were down to 14 men, I thought we came out and gave a good account of ourselves against a quality team like Leicester," Myler added. "With our start to the second half we showed we felt we could still win the game. We played some good rugby and we hurt Leicester, but it was a heartbreaking result and tough to take."

The Lions confirmed to Press Association Sport that if Hartley is unavailable for their second tour match - against Western Force in Perth on June 5 - then he would be replaced in the squad.

A Lions spokesman said: "Warren Gatland (head coach) has always indicated that these players (competing in Premiership and PRO12 finals) would not play in the first match against the Barbarians, but they would have to be available for the second match of the tour.

"That is the criteria for Hartley coming on tour. If he gets a suspension that prevents him from making that second game then that is where we are."

0Comments
10 reasons to make MSN UK your homepage (© Microsoft)

latest rugby news

  • Mark McCall wants no repeat of Saracens' last meeting with Clermont

    Given their remarkable progress in recent years, it may seem odd this Saracens side's defining moment is perhaps one of their heaviest and most humbling defeats.

  • James Hanks has been advised by doctors to end his playing days due to a neck injury

    Exeter Chiefs lock James Hanks has been forced to retire at the age of 29 due to a neck injury.

  • Lorenzo Cittadini will play for Wasps next season

    London Wasps have announced the signing of Italian tight head Lorenzo Cittadini, who will join ahead of next season.

  • Tom Biggs is leaving Bath for Worcester

    Bath winger Tom Biggs has agreed to join Worcester in the summer, the Warriors have announced.

  • Benjamin Kayser believes Clermont coach Vern Cotter, pictured, has become increasingly ruthless in his approach over time

    Vern Cotter's "ruthless" management has "evolved drastically", leaving the Kiwi coach refusing to discuss his summer Scotland switch as Clermont chase Heineken Cup redemption, according to hooker Benjamin Kayser.

  • Toulon's Bryan Habana, pictured with the ball, admits CJ Stander decision to chase residency in Ireland is a loss to South Africa

    Munster's South Africa-born flanker CJ Stander qualifying for Ireland through residency is a "loss" to the Springboks, admits World Cup winner Bryan Habana.

  • Declan Fitzpatrick has undergone a procedure to correct an irregular heart rhythm

    Ulster prop Declan Fitzpatrick will face further precautionary tests in Belfast after treatment in Glasgow for an irregular heartbeat.

  • Glasgow Warriors' Ryan Wilson has signed a two-year contract extension

    Glasgow Warriors have tied down two more players on extended deals after persuading back-row pair Ryan Wilson and James Eddie to commit themselves to the Scotstoun outfit.

  • Benji Marshall is set for a return to rugby league

    Former New Zealand captain Benji Marshall is seeking a return to rugby league after struggling to adapt to his switch of codes.

  • Ben Ransom scored the vital try for Saracens

    Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens claimed a 23-18 victory over Newcastle at Kingston Park with the home side snatching a vital bonus point in their battle against relegation.

  • Jamie Elliott, pictured right, scored two tries as Northampton beat London Irish

    Northampton pulled seven points clear of third-placed Bath in the Aviva Premiership table after securing an edgy 36-21 win over London Irish at Franklin's Gardens.

  • Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was pleased his decision to rest several players paid off

    Saracens' decision to rest some of their star names ahead of next week's Heineken Cup semi-final paid off when the Aviva Premiership leaders edged Newcastle 23-18 at Kingston Park.