Blow for England and Eddie Jones as Dylan Hartley, Nathan Hughes and Joe Marler all cited

 
Ross McLean
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ASM Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints -  Champions Cup
Hartley has been cited for allegedly striking an opponent (Source: Getty)

Skipper Dylan Hartley is one of three England forwards set to face disciplinary action after being cited less than three weeks before the start of the autumn internationals.

European Professional Club Rugby has confirmed that hooker Hartley, No8 Nathan Hughes and prop Joe Marler face hearings on Wednesday following alleged offences during the weekend’s continental action.

The news will be a bitter blow for England head coach Eddie Jones, who is set to name his squad for the autumn programme, which begins with a clash against Argentina on 11 November, on Thursday.

Northampton’s Hartley is alleged to have struck Clermont Auvergne’s Rabah Slimani, an offence which, if proven, carries a sanction of a two-week ban at the low end, four at the mid-range and between eight and 52 at the top end.

Wasps powerhouse Hughes, meanwhile, has been accused of dangerously tackling Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith, while Marler is charged with use of the elbow on Will Rowlands of Wasps in the same fixture.

The potential loss of Hughes would be particularly galling for Jones, who is already without Saracens wrecking ball Billy Vunipola this autumn after the 24-year-old underwent knee surgery last month.

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