The many bans of England’s rugby captain

ENGLAND RUGBY SKIPPER DYLAN HARTLEY’S SUSPENSIONS

* Twenty-six weeks, eye-gouging: In April 2007, Hartley was slapped with the whopping ban for two counts of eye gouging – including one on current teammate James Haskell – in a club rugby match for Northampton. Considered one of the world’s best young hookers, the 21 year old Hartley was forced to miss the 2007 World Cup due to the lengthy ban.

* Eight weeks, biting: Hartley appeared to be a reformed character with five years passing since his infamous gouging offences. But in March 2012 Hartley was caught by TV cameras biting the finger of Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris during a Six Nations clash at Twickenham.

* Two weeks, punching: Eight months later Hartley copped his first ban as captain of a side. The Northampton skipper pleaded guilty in December 2012 to punching Ulster hooker Rory Best – now the Ireland captain – during a European Challenge Cup match in Belfast.

* Eleven weeks, abusing an official: Referee Wayne Barnes sent Hartley off for swearing at him in the Premiership club rugby final at Twickenham in May 2013 following a previous warning. Hartley insisted he was directing his abuse at Leicester’s Tom Youngs. Either way Hartley copped another lengthy suspension, ruling him out of the Lions tour of Australia.

* Three weeks, elbowing: Hartley appeared on the straight and narrow when he led Northampton to the 2013/14 Premiership title at Twickenham. But seven months later Hartley was sidelined again after being sent off for elbowing Leicester centre Matt Smith in a Premiership clash in December 2014.

* Four weeks, headbutting: Hartley was sensationally dropped from the World Cup squad by then-coach Stuart Lancaster for headbutting Saracens rival Jamie George in the Premiership semi-final in May 2015. The ban would have only ruled Hartley out of the first of England’s four pool matches but he was still cut – and coincidentally replaced by George.

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