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Northampton Saints banned again

Dylan Hartley, the hooker for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Union club the Northampton Saints has been given a sanction of two weeks for hitting out at Rory Best of Ulster during a Heineken Cup match last weekend.

The incident took place during the Irish club’s 25-6 win in the Heineken Cup at Franklin’s Gardens last Friday. The skipper for The Jimmies was summoned after the match during which he pleaded guilty to the charge and has now been given this new sanction.

This new sanction will land the Premiership in further trouble than they are already in as it means their influential captain will be missing from the lineup when they travel to Ireland to take on Ulster in the second leg of the Heineken Cup tie and will also not be a part of the team taking on the league leaders and Aviva Premiership reigning champions Harlequins next weekend. The ban was imposed on the Northampton Saints at a disciplinary hearing in Dublin, Ireland on the 14th of December and with the ban coming so late, it will affect the team selection of the English club who would have planned for the return leg with Hartley in mind.

This is not the first time, however, that the England hooker has found himself in hot water as earlier in the year he was sanctioned for eight weeks for biting Irish flanker Stephen Ferris during a match of the Six Nations at Twickenham Stoop.

He was banned for a massive 26 weeks back in April 2007 when he was found guilty of gouging the eyes of two London Wasps players during a Premiership fixture. But now that he has been sanctioned again, the Northampton Saints will need to turn around the tie without their influential skipper to lead their charge away from home.