In partnership with the HKRFU

SportRugby

Ban knocks Lions hooker out of match in Hong Kong against Barbarians

Hooker Hartley lands 11-week ban on eve of historic tour to Hong Kong and Australia after accusing ref of cheating

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 11:02am
 

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.

It means the England hooker will not turn out in the Lions' historic match against the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday.

Calling a referee a cheat is an attack on his integrity and contrary to the core values
Judge Jeff Blackett

Hartley was sent off for allegedly calling referee Wayne Barnes a "f****** cheat" just before half-time 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 yesterday.

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 the favourite to replace him in Warren Gatland's squad before they leave for Australia via Hong Kong today.

"We cannot get around the fact that Wayne Barnes was certain that Mr Hartley's comments were directed at him," 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.

Mallinder claimed Hartley's rant was aimed at Leicester hooker Tom Youngs after a scrum had collapsed and the Tigers had been awarded a penalty. Two minutes before that incident, Barnes had warned Hartley he would take action if the player made any further comments the official felt were directed at him.

"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. 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 was quick to hand out a suspension that leaves him on the sidelines until September.

Meanwhile, a 20-point haul for Freddie Burns helped England to a comfortable 40-12 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham last night.

Share

 

Send to a friend

To forward this article using your default email client (e.g. Outlook), click here.

Enter multiple addresses separated by commas(,)

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive