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Northampton and England hooker Dylan Hartley set for return

  • England captain Dylan Hartley is back in full training for the first time since being knocked unconscious during the Grand Slam decider against France
  • The hooker is in line to feature for Northampton against Gloucester in the Premiership on Saturday
  • Saracens and England hooker Jamie George also set to return to action
Hooker was the position causing England coach Eddie Jones the biggest headache as he fine-tuned his plans for the summer tour to Australia.

Captain Dylan Hartley has not played since he was knocked senseless in the 67th minute of the Grand Slam win over France in Paris on March 19.

“He’s done a full week and has been going through the return-to-play protocols,” said coach Alan Dickens.

“He’s bouncing around the place and back to his usual self.”

If 30-year-old Hartley does return from the replacements bench, it will be a significant boost for England before the summer tour to Australia.

Jones is due to announce his squad in just over a fortnight’s time, with Hartley set to skipper England as they look to build on their Six Nations success.

Saints Northampton cannot make this season’s Premiership play-offs but a win at Gloucester would guarantee a top-six finish and secure automatic European Champions Cup qualification for next season.

Meanwhile, Sarries and England hooker Jamie George has also made a remarkable recovery from surgery, allowing him to return for Saracens’ final regular-season match at Worcester four weeks ahead of the initial 12-weeks for which he was told he would be sidelined.

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