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By Lee Stace

WHAT a disgrace.

England hooker Dylan Hartley has only received an eight-week suspension for biting Ireland loose forward Stephen Ferris during the Six Nations, meaning he is available for England selection when the side takes on the Springboks in a three-test series in June.

His suspension is four weeks fewer than the low-end entry point in the International Rugby Board’s table of sanctions!

Unbelievable, especially as some would claim that Hartley is bad to the bone. That the New Zealand-born rake is ill-disciplined and a bit of a thug on the field.

Hartley is no stranger to those who sit on the disciplinary panels in Europe.

A trouble-maker by nature, he was banned for 26 weeks for eye-gouging James Haskell and Jonny O’Connor during the Northampton v London Wasps game in 2007.

He also dropped a forearm on a prone Richie McCaw at Twickenham in 2010, was implicated alongside Haskell and Chris Ashton in an alleged sexual harassment incident involving a Dunedin hotel maid during last year’s Rugby World Cup, and took part in the alleged mistreatment of dwarves during the England team’s infamous night out in Queenstown.

Off-field shenanigans aside, it was thought that Hartley would have the book thrown at him for his latest indiscretion given his previous rap sheet.

Biting carries a low-end entry point of a 12-week suspension, while the mid-range punishment is 18 weeks and there is a ban of 24-plus weeks at the top end. The maximum sanction is a four-year punishment.

Hartley got off lightly. He was handed a 12-week suspension which was then reduced by the panel to eight weeks on account of his ‘good behaviour’ in the last five years.

The 25-year old then had the cheek to say that he was “disappointed with the result” after the hearing.

God only knows why. Especially as Hartley’s ban lapses on May 14, meaning he will be free to travel with England to South Africa in June.

He should be counting his lucky stars, as the punishment could – and should – have been more severe.

Posted Comments

dodger
bollocks!!! get off the guys back. the only thing he did wrong was not having a decent feed before the game.... or maybe watching those old school wrestling vids was a bad move.
Tim
It is indeed a disgrace. The punishment should increase, not decrease with each new additional offence. He is a recalcitrant offender who should not be playing the game.
SaintPat
If someones fingers are near your eyes or on your face and you are in a ruck; wouldn't you do the same if the only defence you had were your teeth?
Matt
Another example of the IRB pandering to the needs, wants and desires of the northern unions...
ian Reed
Biting is definitely bad news but in this professional era players do lots worse without the Ref seeing it and then claim 'it wasn't me ref!' We haven't seen what went on before the incident, the panel did so perhaps thats why he only got 8wks?
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