Dylan Hartley given 8 week ban for biting

Northampton and England hooker Dylan Hartley has been given an 8 week ban after he was found guilty of biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris during England’s 30-9 victory in the final match of the RBS Six Nations 2012.

Hartley will miss the rest of the domestic season with Northampton, although his suspension does expire on May 13th meaning that if Northampton were to make the Aviva Premiership final, he would be eligible for selection. This is Hartley’s second ban for a serious offence after he received a 6 month ban for gouging back in 2007, forcing him to miss the Rugby World Cup.

What are your thoughts on the punishment? Is it long enough?

20 thoughts on “Dylan Hartley given 8 week ban for biting

    1. My answer would be that ferris had is finger in Hartleys mouth and should be cited why would you put your hand in somebody’s mouth unless you are trying to harm somebody disgraceful ferris needs a ban as well

      1. Don’t talk kek, you can bite somebodys finger anytime, especially in a scrum, you trying to say Ferris deliberately put his finger in Hartleys mouth ? wise up ffs.

  1. Absolutely gutted, Saints are in real trouble at hooker. An 8-week ban must mean there was some kind of mitigating circumstance, when the minimum ban for biting is usually 12 weeks. There are only two options here, because it seems unlikely he’ll have had it reduced for his good disciplinary record!

    1. Lack of evidence – it’s really hard to tell from the footage that this took place, the only evidence would have been the injury to Ferris’ finger, the player’s testimony, and the referee’s testimony.

    OR

    2. Actions of the victim – it’s reasonable to ask how Ferris’ finger ended up in his mouth. If I were going to bite someone in a ruck, it doesn’t seem like the most accessible body part to bite unless it was already there! There’s a precedent for this, Danny Grewcock got a two month ban in the 2005 Lions tour for biting Keven Mealamu. Grewcock alleged that Mealamu had stuck his digits right on in there, and while the hearing found that the evidence was insufficient to prove this, the ban he received says otherwise.

    I’m intrigued to find out the details of the hearing!

    1. Saints are far from in trouble at hooker, Andy Long has been having a great run of form recently, Ross McMillan is improving with time, Mike Haywood should be back from an injury soon who is a superb hooker, and we also have the USA eagles hooker Chris Biller somewhere in the squad training with us, who played for the ‘wanderers’ (B team) last night.

      Add to that the fact that Alex Waller is capable of playing hooker, I think we are fine :)

      1. Afraid I have to disagree with that. Andy Long is ok for LV games and weaker opposition but has been found wanting in most places outside of the scrum, especially in defence. Ross McMillan has never started a game for saints and has only appeared twice as a substitute. Mallinder has also signed Chris Biller from Bath but that seems mainly to be in order to cover Ross mcmillan’s absence from the wanderers. The issue here is that none of these players are really premiership playoff material, and the suggestion that we might need to play a loosehead prop at hooker is evidence for my argument, not against it.

        Heywood might be the solution (despite being pretty wet behind the ears himself) but there’s no sign of him returning from injury yet.

  2. This really seems strange Dylan must of pleaded guilty as how does an opposing players hand end up in your mouth?

  3. The PDF will be published soon enough so we can all read about what went on. I’m interested in seeing how much Hartley pleads his case, he did after all plead guilty to the offence.

      1. Troll.

        If Ferris was fish-hooking him as Mealamu was doing to Grewcock then I really cannot blame Hartley. It would take the patience of a saint not to automatically respond by biting down

        1. Patience of a Saint! I see what you did there!

          Can’t imagine Hartley’s disciplinary record had anything to do with the mitigation, so he must have convinced the panel he was acting in self defence and that Ferris isn’t as squeaky clean as he might seem. Hartley’s disappointment at the verdict seems to imply that he pleaded not guilty.

          Judgement’s out on Friday, we’ll see what it says.

  4. If someone is going to stick their fingers in my eyes, I’d bite them myself… a lot more common in school boy and club level than you’d realise!!

    1. yes and no Cramps.

      Hartley has cleaned up his act.

      The chat i hear is that Ferris intentially had his fingers in Hartleys mouth and hartley reacted.

      there is no bad blood between them, they both know what they were doing!

      1. Good point, and I’ve seen plenty of times in the last few years when Hartley could have reacted to something but didn’t. He gets targeted a lot by coaches and players who hold the same opinion as Cramps seem to, but they forget he was only 21 when he got his previous ban. Being made captain at Northampton has forced him to do a lot of growing up and was probably the best thing that happened to him.

  5. So Hartley found guilty on no evidence whatsoever. If it is Ferris word vs Hartley why no counter ban for the alleged fish hook. What a joke. And Ferris what a complete baby telling tales to teacher. Man up.

  6. Ferris can’t be cited due to time. Agree Hartley has a past of dirty play, but i also find it strange that:

    1. He’s hardly been in trouble since taking on the captaincy at Saints (2yrs now i think?) – seems strange to lapse back into thuggist ways.
    2. Why bite a finger in a ruck? Lots more accessible body parts/areas.
    3. How did the whole Irish team seem to know that Ferris had been biten as soon as the ruck was dispersed? Was this a pre planned attack?
    3. Did Ferris do something, and Hartley reacted? If you have all forgotten, flankers are “skilled” (i use that termed lossely) in the dark arts + it was Ferris before the game yet again slanging the English off.

    Personally, I think Hartley was been fish hooked (or something similiar) by Ferris to try and get a reaction, which he did.

  7. Any comments on the evidence are irrelevant as Hartley accepted that he was the player who did the biting in that it was his mouth the finger was in and his teeth that made contact .

    I think the mitigation was probably along the lines that it was accidental for example his head got a bang or some such and his mouth closed .Enough to reduce the entry level punishment of twelve weeks by a third in any event.

    What the finger was doing there in the first place is not clear but again that could have been accidental and wasn’t being looked at as a offence .

    Seems about right if this is the case I don’t think his previous record accounted for much in the decision either way .

  8. It’s simple.

    Don’t try and reason with the idiot that is Hartley – simply ban him for long, and increasingly lengthy periods, so that he either gets the message to behave, or he sits in the stand for most of the season where he cant misbehave.

  9. AS A JUMIOR COACH, WE ARE SEEING INCREASING NUMBERS OF BOY’S FRONTING EACH OTHER UP AFTER TACKLES, SNEAKING IN PUNCHES IN THE RUCK AND SCRUM, BACK CHATTING THE REF AND EVEN ARGUING WITH THE TOUCH JUDGES. THESE BOYS ARE VERY KEEN TO COPY THEIR HEROES IN EVERY WAY. THE HARTLEYS, GOODES, AND OTHERS LIKE THESE GUYS NEED TO SET AN EXAMPLE FOR THE YOUNGSTERS. 3 STRIKES AND YOUR BANNED FOR LIFE WOULD BE A START. IF HEAVY FINES OR SEASON BANS FOR THE FIRST AND SECOND OFFENCE DOESN’T STOP THE THUGGERY THEN THEY ARE NEVER GOING TO CHANGE.

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