England’s Hartley Banned 8 Weeks for Biting 6 Nations Opponent

England rugby team hooker Dylan Hartley was suspended eight weeks for biting an opponent during the Six Nations tournament.

Hartley was cited for biting the finger of Ireland’s Stephen Ferris in the first half of England’s 30-9 home win on March 17. A Six Nations disciplinary hearing upheld the ruling of foul play in issuing the ban, which runs until May 13 and can be appealed, tournament organizers said in a statement.

“I am disappointed by the result and I will wait for the written judgment as to how to panel came to their conclusion,” Harley said in a statement from the Rugby Football Union. “

Hartley is set to miss the rest of the season for his club Northampton, unless the Saints reach the Premiership final on May 26. He is eligible for England’s tour of South Africa that begins June 9.

The disciplinary committee judged Hartley’s offense to be low-end, which carry bans ranging from 12 to more than 24 weeks in the International Rugby Board’s list of recommended sanctions, and allowed mitigation of four weeks. The maximum sanction for a high-end offense is a four-year suspension.

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