No more sinning for Saint Hartley

Fri, 30 Aug 2013 07:17
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Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley insists he can control his rage after England coach Stuart Lancaster gave him a final warning over his repeated misconduct.

Northampton Saints captain Dylan Hartley insists he can control his rage after England coach Stuart Lancaster gave him a final warning over his repeated misconduct.

Hartley was suspended for 11 weeks after being sent off for verbally abusing referee Wayne Barnes in last season's defeat by Leicester in the Premiership final.

Added to previous biting, gouging and punching offences, Hartley has now been banned for a total of 45 weeks in his career, and, critically, his latest brush with the disciplinary authorities forced him to miss the victorious British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.

Lancaster included him in England's latest elite player squad only after being convinced a new leaf would be turned.

Hartley, 27, accepts a tipping point has been reached with what he regards as the worst experience of his rugby career.

"I don't need a sports psychologist, but my approach to dealing with referees has to change," he said at the Premiership launch at Twickenham on Thursday.

"I can understand how the incident was interpreted. I did say what I said, but I stand by what I said in that I know who I was talking to or about (Hartley claims his words were not directed at Barnes).

"I've heard much worse in the front row. In terms of how it was interpreted I have to look at that and understand how it got to that point.

"I sat down with Stuart and we had a chat. It wasn't about him telling me, but I understand that he can't keep giving me a chance.

"People can't keep giving me a chance and I'm basically on my last chance in the England set-up. That's fully understood."

AFP

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