England captain Hartley 'on the route back'

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 21:05
Large dylan hartley england trophy 800

NEWS: England captain Dylan Hartley is aiming to make his first appearance in six weeks when Northampton travel to Castres in the European Champions Cup on Saturday.

The New Zealand-born hooker, who earlier this year led England to a Six Nations Grand Slam and a 3-0 series win in Australia, has been out of action since September 11 following a series of back spasms.

However, he has now returned to full training and Northampton backs coach Alan Dickens said Wednesday: "Dylan's been injured. He's on the route back.

"He trained fully last week. He's trained fully this week, it's just dependent on how he reacts. He's there or thereabouts," he added of this weekend's match away to French club Castres.

Hartley's increasing fitness is welcome news for both Northampton, looking to back up their 16-14 win in last week's Champions Cup opener against Montpellier, another French club, and England, who open their end-of-year Test series against South Africa at Twickenham on November 12.

Agence France-Presse

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Highlanders v Stormers 57 | 14
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Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
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EUROPEAN CUP
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Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 24
Glasgow Warriors 6 4 0 2 19
Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 8
Racing Metro 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 1 1 22
Toulouse 6 3 2 1 18
Connacht 6 4 0 2 18
Zebre 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 5 1 0 24
Toulon 6 3 0 3 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 11
Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 4
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 4 1 1 23
Montpellier 6 3 0 3 16
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 9
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 26
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 14
Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 12
Ulster 6 2 0 4 10