Dylan Hartley will be available for the opening fixture of the Six Nations against France
The England captain received a six-week ban for striking
He has now been suspended for a total of 60 weeks
England captain Dylan Hartley will be available for the opening fixture of the Six Nations against France after receiving a six-week ban for striking.
The 30-year-old caught flanker Sean O’Brien with a swinging arm during Northampton Saints’ Champions Cup loss to Leinster on Friday and received the third red card of his career.
England start their Six Nations title defence at Twickenham on 4 February.
Under World Rugby’s Sanctions for Foul Play, Law 10.4 (a), Striking a player with a hand, arm or fist carries the following sanction entry points – Low End: 2 weeks; Mid-Range: 5 weeks; Top End: 8 to 52 weeks
An independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Simon Thomas (Wales), Chairman, Rhian Williams (Wales) and Marco Cordelli (Italy) heard submissions from Hartley, who pleaded guilty to the offence, as well as from the player’s legal representative, Richard Smith QC, and the Northampton Saints Team Manager, Paul Shields.
The Committee also heard evidence and submissions from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
In upholding the red card decision, the Committee found that the offence was at the mid-range of World Rugby’s sanctions and selected five weeks as the appropriate entry point.
Taking into account Hartley’s poor disciplinary record, the Committee added two weeks to the sanction and then reduced the sanction by one week due to the player’s guilty plea before imposing a suspension of six weeks.