Hartley handed two-week ban

Thu, 13 Dec 2012 17:48
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Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley was on Thursday suspended for two weeks for striking Ulster hooker Rory Best.

Hartley faced an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin following a citing from the European Cup Round Three Pool Four match at Franklin’s Gardens last Friday in which he was alleged to have struck Best during the second half.

The independent Judicial Officer, Roger Morris (Wales), heard evidence and submissions by video conference from Hartley who pleaded guilty to the offence, and from his legal representative Richard Smith QC. Submissions were also heard from ERC Disciplinary Officer, Roger O’Connor.

Morris upheld the citing and employing the IRB recommended sanctions for Law 10.4(a), determined that the offence was at the low-end entry point of two weeks.

When considering relevant aggravating factors, Morris added one week for the Hartley’s disciplinary record and then subsequently reduced the suspension by one week for his conduct during the hearing and guilty plea.

Hartley will thus be free to play on December 24. Both the player and ERC have the right to appeal the decision.