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England's Hartley cited for biting

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 00:00
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England hooker Dylan Hartley has been cited over biting allegations during last weekend's 30-9 Six Nations win over Ireland at Twickenham and could be banned for more than 24 weeks if found guilty.

Italian citing commissioner Alberto Recaldini cited the 25-year-old New Zealand-born Hartley on Monday under International Rugby Board Law 10.4(m): "Acts contrary to good sportsmanship," for allegedly biting the finger of an opponent in the 23rd minute of the first half on Saturday.

The hearing for the 39-times capped Hartley will be held by an independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee on a date to be fixed.

Biting is an offence which carries an entry point punishment of 12 weeks at the low end, 18 weeks at mid-range and 24+ weeks at the top end in the International Rugby Board (IRB) sanctions table.

Ireland flank Stephen Ferris was heard accusing an England player of biting during the match.

Biting is a red card offence but as neither referee Nigel Owens nor his touch judges saw the alleged incident, no action was taken during the game.

Owens, in a conversation recorded on his microphone, told England captain Chris Robshaw and Ireland skipper Rory Best in the 28th minute of Saturday's match: "I have an accusation of biting, a clear mark on the finger.

"I did not see something. If I do it will be dealt with severely, which would be a red card. It could be dealt with afterwards. If it is seen it will be dealt [with] I did not see it."

Owens added: "Have a word. Nothing like that takes place in this game. I can only deal with what I see. Have a word, please."

As the packs then set-up for a scrum, Owens added: "This game is difficult enough without stuff like that, is that clear?"

Owens then approached Ferris, while the back row forward was receiving treatment from Ireland's physiotherapist, and said: "I have done all I can. It has been noted. If I don't see it I can't do nothing about it.

"It has been spoken about and dealt with."

England's victory saw them finish second in the tournament, with Ireland in third place.

AFP

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