England captain Dylan Hartley free to play in Six Nations after receiving six-week ban

 
Joe Hall
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Northampton Saints v Leinster Rugby - European Rugby Champions Cup
Dylan Hartley has been freed to play in the Six Nations (Source: Getty)

England captain Dylan Hartley is free to play in the Six Nations after receiving a six week ban for striking Sean O'Brien in Northampton Saints' European Champions Cup clash with Leinster last week.

Hartley will be permitted to play from 23 January — just under a fortnight before England begins their Six Nations defence against France at Twickenham on 4 February — following an independent disciplinary hearing in London.

The New Zealand-born hooker could have received an eight-week ban, ruling him out of the France fixture, after receiving the third red card of his career for a stiff-arm tackle on O'Brien that left him requiring a head injury assessment.

Read more: Vindicated Eddie Jones hails his England captain Dylan Hartley as a "likeable rogue"

A disciplinary committee found that Hartley's original offence was worth of a five-week suspension and added a further two weeks due to the 30-year-old's terrible disciplinary record. The ban was then reduced by a week due to the player's guilty plea.

England head coach Eddie Jones' controversial choice for captain has now received 60 weeks worth of suspensions in his career, for various offences including biting, spitting and eye gouging.

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